WSAZ Article from March 20, 2020

By Brendan Tierney

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Schools across West Virginia are closed through at least March 27 due to the coronavirus outbreak, but teachers are preparing for that to be extended much longer.

One solution to continuing education during this period is online teaching. The Bible Center School in Charleston is preparing for students to learn through virtual classrooms beginning next week.

“It is a new normal,” first-grade teacher Candace Jacob said. “We are able to incorporate things that we have already done in our classroom but now just do it in a different way.”

Students will take classes online for three hours each morning then have homework activities to complete in the afternoon. For Jacob, who has three children of her own that are now learning online, it’s a juggling act to make sure everyone is taken care of.

“It is hard to control some of the things that the kids are doing,” Jacob said. “In the classroom, it is hard enough, but when they are all in their little world, that is going to be a challenge for the technology side. We have a mute all button we can try, but first graders are exploring the computer and they are wanting to unmute themselves.”

Students are also being given supplies like recorders and ukuleles to continue music education at home. Packages were given to families at a drive-through lane on Friday.

“I would rather her be in school obviously,” second-grade parent John Stamper said. “I am not a teacher, it has been difficult but it hasn’t been too bad. My main focus is that she is still able to learn and get the education that she is supposed to get while she is here.”

“It is hard to see them be lonely and without their friends,” Jacob said. “It’s also awesome to see them light up when they saw their teachers this week. A lot of the teachers were able to send video clips or challenges via email and that really helped boost their spirits as well.”

[Full article & video]