Schools in red zone hot spot clusters are switching to remote learning for the next two weeks.
But as some kids settle in front of their laptops at home, not every child is afforded that opportunity.
Deputy executive director of the New York State School Boards Association Jay Worona broke down three of the main challenges facing school with remote learning.
- Lack of reliable internet. Not every area of the state has access to reliable broadband.
- Lack of resources. Not every school has enough money to purchase laptops for students that don’t have access to a computer.
- Lack of training. Staff and teachers have been doing an incredible job of navigating teaching remotely, but many are trying to learn as they go.
Schools have tried to navigate these challenges, and some have set up school buses as hot spots for students to park near and use internet that way.
However, Worona says that is slapping a Band-Aid on a much larger issue, especially with winter around the corner.
“If you’re a student that doesn’t have any of that access, now that divide between you and the student that did have access is even that much greater,” Worona explained. “So urgency? Absolutely. There shouldn’t be any students in this state that are afforded no opportunities to learn. That’s not acceptable.”
The interim chancellor of the New York State Education Department, Dr. Betty Rosa, met with school boards around the state right now to speak with them about some of these challenges.
Dr. Rosa told school boards that they are possibly looking up a digital task force, looking at bridging the digital divide and addressing digital inequity.
The education department would not confirm the possibility of a digital task force, but did say that there are federal funds available for schools looking to purchase resources like laptops.
There are also tools and tips on their website for teachers navigating teaching remotely.