Coronavirus: Hillsborough teachers, parents prepare for more e-Learning

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As much as she wanted to return to her classroom, Lauren Thibault told 8 On Your Side she supports the state’s decision to continue distance learning for the rest of the school year.

“We’ve all kind of been preparing ourselves for it,” Thibault said, “but the realization I don’t get to spend any more time with my 18 kids was really, really tough.”

8 On Your Side first spoke with the Northwest Elementary School fourth grade teacher before the start of e-learning in March when the coronavirus pandemic led to the closing of schools.

Thibault said she’s only seen her students during a parade in their neighborhoods and through lessons on Zoom and a virtual lunch together Friday.

Teachers at her school have tried to simplify the e-learning process for younger students, Thibault said.

“You know their math book was in one location, their science books in another location,” Thibault said. “So we’ve done a lot of Edsby training with the district staff to learn how to make Edsby a one-stop-shop for our students.”

Parent Suzann Humara from South Tampa told 8 On Your Side she’s had to take an active role in helping her daughter finish eighth grade from home.

“Every week I get different packets from the teachers that I go through for my daughter and try to split out the work for the week,” Humara said.

She added in a Zoom interview her biggest concern is how grades will be assigned for the rest of this school year unlike any in previous years. She had a suggestion for the Hillsborough School district leaders.

“I have some friends in Georgia,” she said. “One thing their district did was students would be able to keep the grade they have the previous quarter and make it better then it wouldn’t necessarily go down.”

A Hillsborough Schools spokesperson told 8 On Your Side there has been no discussion of a grading policy like that. She said teachers are being flexible with assignments and that concerned parents should reach out to their child’s teachers.

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