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Learning Pods Give Students Social Interaction And Parents A Break During Distance Learning

PLEASANTON (KPIX) - Most Bay Area students will start school with distance learning this Fall. There's a push to create 'learning pods' to help them maintain some social interaction and give parents a much-needed break.

Learning pods would basically be small home school groups of 3 to 4 children and would really help parents working at home, trying to juggle it all. The idea is gaining traction with parents and teachers.

At Cottonwood Creek K-8 School, Mrs.Eisenstad was setting up her fourth grade virtual classroom. She's getting her lesson plan in place to distance teach and hoping her students are ready to distance learn.

"I think the biggest thing we have to remember right now is that parents are going to play a much more active role in getting our kids on track," Eisenstad said.

"I feel like a lot of us parents are losing a lot of sleep trying to figure out what to do ," said Nobella Baba.

Baba is a Livermore mom of three daughters. She turned to social media to organize learning pods within her school community.

"I'm starting it because honestly I feel like none of us know what the right answer is."

Her daughters do. They want to see their peers.

"I feel disappointed because I can't see my friends or my teacher and I love my friends a lot.," her middle daughter said.

Baba sees "learning pods" taking place at a park or even in a backyard.

"It would basically feel a little bit like school where you have a routine where we're starting every day at a certain time an hour. Yes, the kids won't have 20 friends to play with to socialize with but they'll have at least 2 to 4 other kids to socialize with and that would be their little social bubble during school," she said.

She says parents could even take turns.

"It's just like going to the gym and having peers to hold you accountable helps you stay connected. It helps to motivate you so these pods can be really helpful especially if they can use these pods in conjunction with their teachers," said Eisenstadt.

It is a learning curve for all, but Eisenstadt says expectations will be higher this time around.

"We had different grading policies. We weren't holding them all accountable," she said. "We are starting, it's game on! We are going to start them just like they were in class the same way that you would do anything else."

Hundreds of parents have expressed interest in creating learning pods, Baba said.

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