School districts are going virtual this year. But for for students and teachers who live in rural areas, logging on could be a difficult task.
SUFFOLK, Va. — Getting ready for a new school year is always a lot of work, but this year there’s added stress because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Like a lot of other teachers, Jasmine McDonald is teaching virtually, but she has a huge problem.
“Although we still are in the city of Suffolk, we don’t have access to cable internet,” McDonald said.
It’s a problem that became evident as we tried to talk on Zoom.
McDonald and her fiancé, Jacob Cisco, have to use their cellphones as hot spots anytime they need to access the internet on their laptop.
“We have a terrible connection,” Cisco explained after repeated disconnections.
He said he has called the cable company, but employees there told him there aren’t enough potential customers in their neighborhood for them to invest in building a network.
“It’s very frustrating to see how frustrated [McDonald] gets with just the fact of the connection and me like moving it everywhere,” Cisco said.
McDonald said it’s a big headache and there’s no other option.
“It’s not like we have a choice. Suffolk is virtual. 100 percent,” she said. “I’ll have numerous kids on a conference at once. It lags pretty bad.”
But McDonald said, despite the pandemic, that’s really the only issue this year. Planning lessons is something she’s used to doing, and enjoys doing.
“I think virtual learning is going to be great,” she said. “It’s just this stressor.”
McDonald just wants parents to be aware this is an issue quite a few people in Hampton Roads and North Carolina could be facing when kids sign in for their virtual classroom.
“It definitely does make my job hard,” she said. “Especially now where it’s no longer ‘I want this,’ it’s ‘I need this in order for my job to happen, in order for me to educate children.’”
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