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After a month online, Arizona schools face different problems

Most teachers and students are getting used to classes online. However, the new format is still not perfect.

PHOENIX — It has been more than a month since schools in Arizona moved online. 

Since then, there has been a rush to get students the supplies they need, while teachers have had to adjust to moving their classes online. 

“Immediately there was a sense of apprehension, anxiety,” Katie Fizz, a high school teacher at a Paradise Valley School, said. "There was definitely a learning curve. But I felt kinda nervous about it, but I was upfront of it.”

Fizz said she has a handle on the technology, thanks in part to resources given to her by the school district. 

For the most part, students now have access to laptops to go to class on. Many of the more short term immediate problems have been handled, but there are other, more long term issues from online classes. Mainly, how being strictly online could put some students at a disadvantage. 

“Bandwidth, learning disabilities, different dynamics at home," Fizz said. "I think this is something that is going to be an issue regardless of someone's socio-economic status.“

PHOENIX - Schools in Arizona will now remain closed until at least April 10th. That means more students will be relying on online learning but that's not easy for several students in our state because of a digital divide. "It's heartbreaking," said Chad Gestson, the superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District.

For example, take a student with a minor learning disability like ADHD. In class, it may be easier to pay attention, thanks to a teacher in the classroom engaging with students. 

When class moves online, however, those students are looking straight at a screen for 50 minutes. 

“It cannot really substitute what’s happening in a classroom,” Fizz said.

Also, having access to a computer doesn't help if the children don't have the bandwidth to stream class. 

“It’s very difficult," Fizz said. "They are in the middle of a session and something doesn’t save or they have to miss that lesson because for two days the internet is out."

The reality is there is no perfect solution to online classes. Fizz said it's part of the conditions teachers, students, and parents need to deal with as they try to help each other out. 

“It takes a village to raise these kids, and as soon as we get this, these kids will be unstoppable," she said.


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