Some parents want changes to virtual learning process

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Some parents across the Mid-South are demanding changes in the virtual learning process.

Jarvis Jeffries, whose daughter takes virtual classes in DeSoto County, has started a petition drive to get the school system to change its virtual learning program. He said the virtual learning process has not been going according to plan.

“This schoology, this whole distance learning process is just not been working out,” Jeffries said. “I’ve tried to be patient because, you know, I know and I been told since day one it was going to be a “work in progress.” However we’re in week four now, and I’m just not seeing any changes.”

Jeffries believes his petition is giving a voice to other parents who want “live” instruction for their children. He said the virtual learning environment is made up of several assignments where students have to turn in work, but many of them do not know how to do it.

Jeffries said his petition is “picking up” steam, and he wants DCS to listen. Other parents agree, like Lynnette Edwards, whose son took part in the virtual learning program and said it didn’t work very well.

“Very unsatisfying,” Edwards said. “He got very, very little to no interaction with his teacher. Most of his interaction came from other students who were trying to learn the same thing he was learning.”

DeSoto County School sent out a message saying the following:

“All employees are working diligently to provide the best education possible during these challenging times to the 13,000 students who chose to learn remotely and the 21,000 students who chose to learn in-person.  Educators are being asked to do more than ever before.  Students will have the option to return to the traditional classroom setting at the end of the 1st 9-weeks.”

Across the state line, in Tennessee another parent has started a similar petition that already has 17,000 names on it. It is asking Shelby County Schools to shorten its virtual learning day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to 8 a.m. to Noon, for Pre-K through 12 grade.

The organizer of this petition said changing the time would eliminate stress. However, not all parents agree. Some said things just stay the way they are.

Shelby County Schools responded saying the following:

“Shelby County Schools is committed to providing high quality instruction to all students. Even in a virtual setting, we must ensure the Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE) requirements are met. The daily virtual learning schedule is aligned with the State’s required allotment of time for each content area, elective, and intervention period. Independent work and physical activity is also built into each day. We do not expect students to work on-screen for 6.5 hours continuously each day. Schools have customized their schedules to maximize student engagement while also recognizing our students and families are adjusting to the virtual learning environment. As always, we value family input and continue to ask for grace and patience as we navigate through this new normal together.”

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