NEWBERRY, S.C. — A lack of internet access is a struggle for some families across the state as they work to navigate the new at-home learning system made necessary due the coronavirus.
In Newberry, some students are doing coursework online while others are limited to pen and paper with the district offering school campuses as Wi-Fi hot spots for those in need.
“Even though some students do have access and can do more programs and things to enrich their learning, a lot of our students don’t have that opportunity,” Lynn Cary, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, said. “We could do so many more… robust things instructionally if all of our students had devices and all of them had access to the internet and that is just not the case.”
Mandy Linger’s daughter is a fifth grader using the pen and paper packets.
Mandy Linger’s daughter.
“At first it was kind of mind boggling, kind of stressful at first like, oh, my gosh, this is a lot,” Linger said, “but it’s really not that bad.”
Linger is a stay at home mom and says she works closely with her daughter to make sure the material is completed, despite not having Wi-Fi.
“I feel that I’m doing the best I can do, as any other parent,” Linger said.
Cary says differing resources could lead to a gap in progression.
“A lot of our students come to us without the same preparation that their peers have just based on the different resources and support that they have at home,” she said. “So, when you are out for an extended period of time, that further compounds the situation.”
She says they’re studying the issue and working with state officials to try to find solutions.
“To rectify those differences, it’s going to take a lot of money and financial resources and infrastructure changes that we in the School District of Newberry don’t have the power or the ability to make,” she said. “That’s going to take folks much larger than us to rectify that situation.
Cary added that they’re hoping to be able to do some summer programs to help catch students up and are seeking guidance from state leaders on the proper procedures to follow to keep students from falling behind in their coursework.
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