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Distance learning: The new normal for WNY students

Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 18:21:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Most students in Western New York have not set foot in a classroom in nearly three weeks.

16 year-old Christian Kehoe is a junior at Canisius High School. His 14 year-old sister Tracy is a freshman at Mount Mercy. Both say this school year has been anything but normal.

“Teachers were like it’s not a vacation, we still have work to do,” Tracy said of all the remote and distance learning. “You still need to submit everything on time.”

The WNY school districts are expecting cooperation from students and parents, all while trying to navigate this new normal.

“New learning is taking place,” said Iroquois Central School Superintendent Doug Scofield. “It’s just a different format. School isn’t closed. We’re doing what we did before.”

Iroquois is learning how to tailor its instruction to individual students online.

“Our goal is to keep moving forward,” Scofield said.

In other districts, like North Collins, reaching students who may not have internet access or computers has been most challenging when it comes to distance learning.

“It’s almost like you’re building an airplane as you’re flying through the air,” said High School Principal; Brandon Wojcik. “I meet with the teachers and we try to work through it as a group.”

Wojcik’s district is very rural and spread out. He says he’s been safely going around checking on students the district hasn’t heard from.

In Niagara Falls, Superintendent Mark Laurrie says internet and access to computers is also a problem in his district.

“We’re thinking about just giving three grades,” he said. “Incomplete, meaning the work is not done…P for passing and M meaning you’ve mastered this work.”

The timetable on when students will be back to class is still uncertain.