Virtual learning instructor offers tips as more schools opt to keep or move to remote classes

Originally aired on WKOW-TV – September 29, 2020

For Jesse Rozmarynowski, the logistics are a hurdle he still struggles to clear. With three children, in seventh grade, fourth grade, and kindergarten, Rozmarynowski said he has had a hard time keeping up with what his kids are learning and also the challenges that keep popping up.

“It’s been a pretty big challenge with trying to figure out what each of their schedules are, exactly what they need to get done each day, then the different types of issues that pop up each day, like IT issues,” Rozmarynowski said.

Rozmarynowski said he hoped the crunch at home would loosen up with his youngest potentially going into school for in-person instruction. Instead, the Middleton-Cross Plains school board voted Monday night by a 5-4 tally to keep all classes online, including those for classes K-2.

“I probably had an explicit word for it,” Rozmarynowski said. “My original thought was ‘oh shoot, another few months of this is gonna be quite stressful.'”

Shawna Stueck is a K-8 Interventionist with the Wisconsin Virtual Academy. Stueck said Tuesday one immediate tip she offers parents is they should create dedicated learning areas within their homes.

“One thing that can really help is making learning spaces, and I say spaces, because there can be more than one,” Stueck said. “Really fit the needs of your child.”

Stueck added it’s equally important those spaces remain flexible — both so kids can switch up their learning environment but also so they can easily put it away when they’re done with school for the day.

“For some families, it’s putting a lot of those materials in a box they can take out when learning is present and active but then also put away when they’re getting ready to transition into the rest of their life,” Stueck said.

Stueck added beyond creating a healthy learning environment at home, parents, now more than ever, should be pro-active about building relationships with their kids’ teachers and get a sense of what challenges the teacher is facing while also providing feedback about what is or isn’t working for their kids.

“I think for a lot of families, what they don’t realize going through this transition, is how much the teachers and schools want to hear from them,” Stueck said. “They want them to reach out, they want to connect.”

Rosmarynowski said he would just prefer schools reopen for in-person learned but added he understands why districts are pushing back on the idea as COVID-19 cases rise to record highs in Wisconsin, both in terms of new cases and hospitalizations.

“I would love to see the kids get back in the school sooner than later because it has been stressful for the family but I also understand concerns for teachers and other people who might be at more risk,” Rozmarynowski said. “There hasn’t been any happy medium, I think, anybody’s found with this yet.”

To learn more about Wisconsin Virtual Academy, visit wiva.k12.com

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