Coronavirus forces Columbus City Schools to launch virtual learning for all students

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The “extended closure” for schools here in Ohio has forced central Ohio’s largest school district to move to virtual learning for all of its students.

Columbus City Schools’ superintendent, Dr. Talisa Dixon, said this way of learning is new for everyone.

She told NBC4 that her message to all CCS families is that they are not alone in facing these obstacles.

“We don’t know how long we’re going to be here but we’re going to be here together, we’re going to be working together to make sure all students have success,” said Dr. Dixon.

The virtual learning allows students to interact through email and even video chat since they cannot be face-to-face with their teachers because of the coronavirus.

School administrators said it took a few weeks of planning but now they have the right web portals to handle all of their student and even the needs of their diverse curriculum.

The Chief Academic Officer for CCS, Dr. Tracy Ocasio, said their system allows teachers to send required assignments for every student and even tailor additional instruction to those with specific needs.

“So, this has given us an opportunity to ensure that all students have content experiences that they can monitor and move through at their own pace, but we also allow for teacher creativity and innovation so that teachers can on targeted learning standards,” said Dr. Ocasio. “So, if I know that I have a child that’s a little behind, if I know a student that’s actually advance and needs additional instruction, I have the opportunity to give them that.”

Students will use their issued email addresses to log in to their web portal to receive and turn in their weekly assignments.

This includes all high school seniors.

“Learning didn’t stop on March 13,” said Dr. Ocasio. “It’s important whether you’re considered on track or not on track as a senior that you continue to learn because this last quarter there’s still content that needs to be mastered.”

Teachers and school staff members will monitor each students progress from the assignments they turn in and will use that as a guide to further help students if needed.

They will also be flexible for students with technology and internet issues.

Dr. Dixon said they are addressing the lack of internet access some families may have. 

She told NBC4 there may be a big development coming soon, but for now, families with limited internet should use WiFi hotspots.

“We want to make sure that we are listening and that we are providing the support that they need,” said Dr. Dixon.

As for parents, school administrators say they have sent out information telling them the best way to schedule your child’s time. Dr. Ocasio said it’s all about balance.

“Anytime we structure something, we find it more successful.” said Dr. Ocasio. “So, I identify that we’re going to sit down and have students learn or our children learn. The same as integrating other activities, and it can’t be, so this is the thing about even working from home as adults, we still need to punctuate our life, we still need to put in time where it’s not all about business.”

Dr. Dixon asks for all students, teachers and families to be patient because this is a work in progress.

“Do we have all the answers absolutely not, but we are going to work through this period together,” said Dr. Dixon.

Dr. Ocasio said there will be additional learning opportunities through the summer for students who may want and need it.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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