COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Many Columbus City School students did not attend the first day of classes, opting to walk with teachers on strike.
Many families said logging in for remote learning would be crossing the picket line. Beyond that, it’s an experience they don’t want to repeat. Whetstone High School senior Melina Spiropoulos organized a group of her peers to demonstrate their support for teachers.
“A couple of them were, like, getting emotional and I’m like, ‘No, don’t cry,’ but yeah, it’s always awesome to see everyone come together,” she said. “Even everybody’s so different but everybody’s coming together for the same goal.”
Spiropoulos said a remote start to the year is not ideal for many students and she chose to not attend class.
“It’s worth it to be out here with them and show my support for them than to log in,” said Spiropoulos. “I’ll do it as long as I can — if my attendance starts, I’ll worry about that when the time comes.”
Karsten Applegate will be in sixth grade this year. His family is not logging into class, either, as remote learning was tough for him during the pandemic.
“It was a little bit harder to get on my classes because I would forget because I’m at home and I might get distracted by something and it was hard,” he said.
Alice, also in sixth grade, vividly remembers digital learning.
“I didn’t learn anything back in third grade when I did it,” she said. “It’s just hard — it’s hard on your brain and your eyes and it’s hard to focus when you’re staring at a screen for the past three hours.”
Columbus School Board President Jennifer Adair said there won’t be any repercussions for students who are absent initially, but that could change if they miss more classes.
As for Spiropoulos, she’s eager to start her senior year and she’s hoping an agreement comes soon.
“I’m hopeful that things will start to be worked on and things will start to go up and maybe there will be more give from each side because I know the teachers just want what’s best for us and hopefully things will go well,” she said.
NBC4 did talk to one parent off camera today about the first day of class online. She said it was an easy decision for her to have her child attend the online learning sessions because of an ongoing custody case.
She added there have been some hiccups, but as a family, they’ve been able to brainstorm and make it work.