'It still just makes me feel a little uneasy,' says mom as Portsmouth schools prepare for virtual learning

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Posted at 10:50 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 07:35:49-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - "I'm really happy they seem concerned,” said Tangela Randall.

She was one of many parents watching the Portsmouth School Board's special meeting Thursday on how the school district plans to handle virtual learning.

"Now, it has brought me a little anxiety,” she adds.

Her 15-year-old, Jahleel, is heading to 10th grade at Churchland High School.

“I know that children learn through interaction instead of just being taught at,” the mother adds.

Randall is concerned about the pre-recorded lessons.

"If you have any trouble with something, are you going to be able to stop that lesson and say, 'Hey, I don't understand - could you do that again?” she wondered.

School leaders say there will be activities, tasks and quizzes to keep students engaged.

Teachers will also have virtual office hours.

"We want parents to know that we know this is a struggle for them,” said Dr. Anita Wynn, the Assistant Superintendent with Portsmouth Public Schools.

Every student will get an iPad or Chromebook. The school system will provide training videos for parents and students.

"We are providing YouTube videos that will walk through steps,” adds Dr. Wynn.

Schoology and Zoom will be the main platforms used this upcoming school year.

"Parents can go into the system and see what’s going on with their children," said Dean Schlaepfer, the Director of Information Technology.

Attendance will also be taken seriously.

Related: List of back-to-school plans for Hampton Roads schools

“Attendance liaisons will go to the home if need be to make contact with parents,” said Wynn.

Tangela says Thursday’s meeting was helpful, but she needs some clarity before the first day of school.

"It still just makes me feel a little uneasy,” Randall adds.

Click here to see school district's full reopening plan.