DALLAS - A Dallas ISD mother created a social network with hundreds of other families who now have to make virtual learning a way of life for at least a month.
They're working on creating learning pods to take some of the pressure off parents and students.
Virtual learning creates many challenges, especially for working families.
Now, a group of more than 1,000 Dallas ISD families are coming together in an effort to make virtual learning easier for parents and more enjoyable for students.
Jackson Mathews, a rising 8th grader at William B. Travis Academy, is ready to get back to a school classroom.
“Well, in the spring, I was missing my friends a lot,” he said.
But Dallas ISD decided on virtual learning through at least October 6 when it starts the school year on September 8.
“For me, to hear it is just another dose of reality about what we’re all going through,” Jackson’s mother, Courtney Mathews, said.
So she started a Facebook group called Parent Support for Dallas ISD Virtual Learning.
“Organizing parents, who have different levels of safety needs in the pandemic,” she explained.
More than 1,000 parents have joined already, and they’re now organizing learning pods.
In a nutshell, parents will take turns chaperoning small groups of students on different days so they can carry out virtual learning together.
“Parents are not responsible for the teaching. Parents are there to help with connectivity, find whatever platform students are supposed to be on,” Mathews added.
It allows students to socially interact with some safety measures in place.
“The social and life interaction I feel is vitally important,” Mathews said.
It also allows working parents to split duties watching students.
Dallas ISD is following county recommendations, and while district officials said they’ll reassess again before October 6, the county health director is unsure if schools will reopen at all for in-person learning this semester.
“You know, I think we saw earlier what happens when you open things up too early,” Dr. Philip Huang said.
He added that, locally, the pandemic appears to be improving, but the community must remain vigilant.
“We need to continue this and get the transmission rate in the community down to lower levels,” he added.
Matthews understands there are risks even with small groups of pods.
“You know, now looking at this plan, it’s a whole another level,” she said.
She’s surveying parents on what level of activities their kids take part in during the pandemic, to group them with families who share like-minded health plans.
Dallas ISD is starting the first four weeks of school with virtual learning, but even if it does open up for in-person learning this semester, parents still have the option to keep their kids learning remotely.
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