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Some North Texas Students/Parents Struggling With Virtual Learning As School Year Begins

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Virtual learning is proving to be a challenge for families, who've begun their school year online.

"It's kind of learning as we go," said Jamie Jackson, of Plano. Her 14 year old, Devon, is starting his freshman year at home. "You wake up. You get on the computer," he says, rattling off his new routine.

Devon's mom, like most, worries over what he may miss out on. So, she started a Facebook group for Plano parents, doing their best to make virtual learning work.

In the first week, some have reported experiencing technical issues, as students and teachers learn to use new technology. There are also the distractions of home to contend with. "I like him, so I'm coming in here," announces Devon's 4 year old sister, Morgan, charging into his room during our Zoom interview.

Devon, though, remains optimistic. "Everything seems really good."

The Plano Independent School District school board Tuesday listened to dozens of messages from parents read aloud, during its first meeting since resuming school entirely online. Many of the messages pushed for face to face learning.

"I know many families who are struggling," said Amanda Nazareno, in a Zoom interview from home.

With two daughters in elementary school, she was excited to tackle the challenge of the new year, only to find it even harder than expected.
"I, at the end of the first day, really felt overwhelmed."

As an example, Nazareno said, one question from her daughter's teacher can trigger a chorus of 34 tiny voices. "First graders unmute, and they all want to answer, and so it's like zzz… zzz. The audio quality is… it doesn't work. So, the whole interactive class doesn't translate."

Just connecting online can be a challenge.

"I've heard recommendations about getting WiFi boosters or getting different kinds of cords and set ups," said Nazareno.

Returning to school, though, in the pandemic carries a risk. "We live in a multi-generational household, and I feel a responsibility to my own mother to keep her safe," she said.

Given the choice to send her daughters back, Nazareno isn't yet sure she'd take it. Taking a deep breath she said, "I really don't know what we're going to do."

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