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Schools: The New Normal | Yonkers Teachers, Students Embracing Remote Learning

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- It was an unprecedented start to the school year in Yonkers, the fourth largest district in New York.

Teachers were in the school building, students were at home, and everyone was doing their best to make the new normal work, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.

Maureen Corrigan-Connell is the reigning Yonkers "Teacher of the Year."

Starting the year facing a camera, instead of a room full of students, was a possibility she prepared for all summer.

"Myself, I've been planning lessons for 10 hours a day and my poor husband has been saying 'Stop, stop,'" Corrigan-Connell said.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Schools: The New Normal

Classroom activities, such as read-alongs, are now conducted online, often with videos from databases teachers and students can access. And even when she's getting ready for a reading less, Corrigan-Connell said she tries to work in a little math.


Yonkers officials said with building support staff in place, having teachers in school should significantly improve remote instruction. Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada said he knows some teachers feel unprepared and some parents are stressed and anxious.

"I certainly understand the apprehension. I understand the fear. Change leads to all of those feelings. This is our first day. There will be wrinkles, and what we need to do is just commit to the work," Quezada said.

Eight-year-old Galianie Lelievre said she is staying positive about learning at home.

"I miss all my friends, my teachers," she said. "I feel like I can learn. My dad can help me."

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The fall of 2020 will be unlike any in our lifetime. If all goes as planned it will feature a second first day of school sometime in October, when students are allowed back in the classroom.

Until then, there's a lesson in making the most of an imperfect situation.

Yonkers held a series of technology academies for parents this summer, so they could better help their children with remote learning.

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