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Erie County parents speak on remote learning issues

Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 18:31:19-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — “I mean if I could just make it go away I clearly would," a Kenmore mom said. "Nobody wants this.”

The McGillicuddy family of Kenmore has five kids enrolled in remote learning. On top of that, both parents are also working from home.

Tiffaney McGillicuddy said her family does the best they can with remote learning, but one of the biggest drawbacks is the WiFi. With five children and two adults all pulling from one internet server, McGillicuddy said her kids are often dropping in and out of zoom calls.

"There’s consistent battles with that,” she said.

In addition to the family's connectivity issues. Each family member is on a different schedule, so mMcGillicuddy said her home is never free of distractions.

“Yeah, actually yesterday I was taking a test, and I heard like everybody downstairs," Corrine McGillicuddy said. "I think it was their lunch or something, but they were all playing.”

With COVID-19 cases rising in Western New York, this can become a reality for many more families.

“They do need to go back, but I want them to be able to go back safely,” Buffalo school parent Kate Helfer said.

Helfer's son Will has been remote learning since March.

“I just feel bad for him," she said. "He misses his friends, and that's just the worst part.”

Helfer’s son is an only child, and over the last few months, he’s only really had his parents to talk to.

“I consistently feel guilty because I'm always on zoom calls. I'm always working whether it's on the phone, in zoom, sometimes I have to go in."

So like many kids Will is often left on his own.

“Of course he’s not receiving the kind of education that he should be receiving. I don't think really any kids are,” Helfer said.

But neither Helfer nor McGillicuddy puts the blame on teachers.

“I understand the teachers are going through a lot," McGillicuddy said. "I don't place a finger anywhere when there is an issue because we’re all figuring it out.”

“Everybody's in the same boat, and everybody’s trying to get by,” Helfer said.