On September 9, between Fifth and Fourth in Old Town Clovis; parents, teachers, and kids rallied together for schools to open again. They were chanting with signs, and cars that drove past honked to give their support.
With schools closed, Zoom, a video communications platform, has become a popular tool for schooling. Kids and teachers use Zoom to communicate with one another, and it is not as easy as it seems to have school from home.
“The first week was a nightmare. The teacher was freezing, we were dropping from our Zoom calls, and there was a lag time. My first grader was getting really frustrated because you can’t learn in that type of environment,” says Heather Green, a stay at home mother.
Parents can agree it is also taking a mental toll on their children by not learning any social skills. Not being able to see their friends for an extended period or even playing sports, some parents have said that their children are getting depressed being home all the time.
“They haven’t seen their friends since March, which is not great for anyone’s mental state. The toll that it’s taking on adults is pretty severe with drinking going up and domestic violence going up, get our kids in school,” says Brandy Lidbeck, mother of three.
Lidbeck said her children have their share of issues; using Zoom, one of her sons was kicked off of Zoom classroom 39 times, missing 40 minutes of class trying to log back into Zoom.
For other parents, Zoom is not a resourceful way of learning; it hinders a child’s education with learning disabilities.
“It is super important for my daughter to go back to school. She isn’t learning through the structure of Zoom. We have requested emergency meetings. She is hiding under the table, and she is confused. My daughter is only doing two minutes of school, and the admin said, ‘that’s okay; keep your computer on that way, we know she’s there. That’s how we get our funding.’ There is no empathy, and I’m heartbroken,” Ruth Silvera, mother of an autistic child.
Holding back tears, Silvera said her daughter is only doing two minutes out of three hours of schooling. There is no exception to kids with learning disabilities. Silvera said her daughter is in Zoom class with the general education class. Her daughter becomes confused when she sees other kids popping up on the screen; she hoped that her daughter would receive one-on-one teaching, which is not the case.
Teachers can testify that Zoom is not a way to teach their students. Sometimes they are not even sure if their student is understanding the lessons or paying attention. Some teachers are frustrated themselves using Zoom.
“We are essential just like doctors, nurses, and if Walmart people are essential, and we need to go get groceries, then teachers are just as essential. We need to get those kids learning, and Zoom is not the best form; it’s a great platform. It’s just in-person learning; it’s got to be better than anything else. I need my kids back!” says Shelly Alexander, fifth-grade teacher.
Alexander told her kids to summit their homework through Google classroom. It is more time consuming than it would be in person when she grades the work. She said the most challenging part is not knowing if they are understanding the homework since she cannot be in person to show them their mistake on an assignment.
More than anything, she misses being in the classroom and being surrounded by her students.
“I know it sounds cliché, but without kids, teaching isn’t teaching, and I feel like I’m teaching a computer, and I really, really need my kids back. They are the ones that motivate me and keep me energized and make me want to come to school every day,” says Alexander.
Schools will not open any time soon. Students and teachers will have to continue distance learning until further notice from California officials.
That does not mean teachers and parents are ready to give up on their children’s education anytime soon and will continue to fight for what they believe is best for them.