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Coronavirus Update: Remote Learning Showing Promise In New Rochelle

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The closing of schools due to the coronavirus outbreak has introduced a new era of learning for countless districts.

Students are at home, instead of in class.

In New Rochelle, the district is calling its effort "distance learning."

CBS2's Tony Aiello has more on how it's working.


Schools are closed, classrooms are empty, but at the Lanser home, fifth grader Brooke was fully engaged with teacher Sarah Chickery doing fractions and decimals and volume, using Google online learning platforms.

"The only thing, quite frankly, that the students are missing out on is the camaraderie amongst their peers and also the fact they can't reach out and touch a teacher, not something we would recommend at the moment anyway," Dr. Alex Marrero said.

MORECoronavirus Update: New York Now Has Highest Number Of Cases In The Country; New Rochelle Gets State's 1st Drive-Through Testing Site

Marrero, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said New Rochelle has worked non-stop to set up distance learning, acquiring hundreds of laptops for students who don't have them, and working with teachers on how to prepare online lessons.

Mom Jennifer Lanser said she is encouraged.

"I usually help them with their homework anyway, and this is a little different for me to be online. I think it's working. They seem to be doing well," Lanser said.

Brooke said there is an upside to being home.

"In school, you can't just get up and get a snack or a drink of water," she said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

So how concerned should parents be if their students take a 10-minute break here, five-minute break there, grab a snack, go to play with a sibling?

"We call them 'brain breaks.' It contributes to the kinesthetic and the physical, but also it allows for a little bit of a pause to re-stimulate in terms of the learning," Marrero said.

Marrero said he knows this is difficult and not ideal. He's urging patience and asking for feedback, as New Rochelle families navigate this new way to learn -- at a trying time.

Districts acknowledge remote learning is difficult for families of special needs students, who may not receive special interventions and supports while schools are closed.

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