Working families looking for solutions with distance learning in schools

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many working families are facing a difficult choice as the start of the new school year gets closer. Some parents say they’re still working out how to juggle their job and still get their children set up for distance learning when they’re not in the classroom.

“For me to be able to effectively monitor their learning and make sure they’re doing what they need to be getting done while I’m also getting what I need to get done is just a really big challenge,” said Daniela Spotokittinger.

As a working mother of two, Spotokittinger said she is trying to come up with a schedule that will allow her to work while making time to ensure her sons are learning.

“It’s a little bit harder to communicate to your employer what the schedule is going to be because it’s kind of changing a lot,” said Spotokittinger.

Rachel Coel and her husband are both essential workers. They aren’t able to keep their kids home for the three days they will be distance learning.

“We’re scrambling right now we’re looking at our school options as well as daycare,” said Coel. “Thankfully one of our children has the opportunity to stay at a friend’s home those three days and so we’re really blessed, but for the other child we couldn’t find that.”

They are not the only ones struggling to figure out what to do when it comes to distance learning.

A recent study by the Hawaii Children’s Action Network surveyed 721 parents. A majority of them said that no one in their family would be able to support their kids if their school has distanced learning.

However, there may be some options available depending on the school.

“What we’ve heard is some schools are exploring a study hall where children that weren’t in class that day can still be on campus with an adult for supervision,” said Kathleen Algier, director of public policy and research for the Hawaii Children’s Action Network. “We’ve also heard some childcare providers are being asked to possibly take in older siblings if they’re able to and there’s some flexibility there.”

The Department of Education said parents should check with each child’s school to see what options are available to them.

However, Algier said more needs to be done and resources on how to handle this blended learning situation need to be given out to families.

“I really encourage as a community, our businesses, state leadership to come together to think of creative solutions to support our working families because we don’t know what the future looks like,” said Algier.

Other concerns parents have include their child’s academic progress and social-emotional well-being and being able to pay for childcare or after school programs.

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