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Remote Learning Likely to Remain Part of Schooling

By JOSELYN KING

Staff Writer

WHEELING — Remote learning is likely to remain a vital part of school curriculum even after the COVID pandemic has passed, but it won’t be daily classroom teachers preparing online lessons, according to Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller.

Miller said it is expected outside supplemental contracts will have to be awarded to teachers taking on remote learning classes in the evenings or on weekends. It also is possible additional teachers might be hired, she said.

“What we have done with our platform is awesome, and has been very helpful to our families,” Miller said. “If we were able to continue something like this, it would have to be outside the (teachers) contract.

“Whenever we go back to five days, it will be very difficult to maintain both systems.

“But certainly, now that we know things are changing forever, this could be an awesome opportunity for students interested in non-traditional learning,” she said.

It is anticipated some students and their families may opt to continue schooling at home.

Online learning, however, remains difficult for students who don’t have access to strong broadband internet.

Miller acknowledged the issue has created an unequal culture of educational haves and have-nots, though the school district has sought to provide internet to students without access in a number of ways.

The school district has worked to make wi-fi accessibility available in school parking lots, permitting students and their families to drive up and download assignments.

They also have installed broadband connectivity at other buildings in neighborhoods where there is a large percentage of students without internet.

Meanwhile, Ohio County commissioners have been working with Comcast to expand broadband opportunities to areas without access.

Miller said beyond this she isn’t certain yet of an answer of how to get internet opportunities to students who do not have it.

“I think the way teachers deliver their lessons and assignments has forever been changed, and we will continue to use internet accessibility,” she said. “If we ever go back, I think it will always become an option for kids.”

Another issue surrounding remote learning is accountability, and how do educators make certain students take online learning seriously, participate and do their work.

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