Last March, as cases of COVID-19 skyrocketed, America’s public education system scrambled to move to a remote teaching scenario.  

Almost overnight, with little communication or time to plan, families had to figure out ways to be home with their kids, while still fulfilling the needs of their jobs. Fast Forward to 2021, and although some students are back in the classroom, the issues of remote learning continue for many.   

In the first of a three-part digital series, Connecting Point Producer Dave Fraser spent a morning recently with one local family whose kids were learning from home, and got reactions from several students and parents in the region about what life has been like learning remotely. 


Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: In March of 2020, America’s public education system scrambled to move to a remote teaching scenario due to the skyrocketing numbers of COVID-19. Almost overnight, with little communication or time to plan, families had to figure out ways to be home with their kids while still fulfilling the needs of their jobs. Fast forward to 2021, and although some students are back in the classroom, the issues of remote learning continue for many.

And the first of a three-part digital series, Connecting Point producer Dave Fraser spent a morning recently with one local family whose kids were learning from home, and got some reactions from several students and parents in the region about what life has been like learning remotely.

Hayes Murray, Parent: I think they just told us they were gonna take two weeks off.

Kara Murray, Parent: Yeah.

Hayes Murray: Right?

Kara Murray: Yeah.

Hayes Murray: And then we’re like, “OK. Sounds sounds reasonable, like a two week vacation type of thing.” That and here we are nine months later. It hasn’t really changed.

Kara Murray, Parent: They haven’t gone back.

Jaden Chako, Student: So, first when school close, obviously, like everyone was happy because like we have no school, but that as it kept getting longer longer, I was like “damn, when is this going to, like, finish?” You get me?

Abigail Burke Adams, Student: I was really disappointed because all through middle school I couldn’t wait to get to high school. And now this is my first year, and it’s not what I pictured at all.

Cecilia Caldwell, Teacher : Problems with Internet in my area because we’re so rural. We actually didn’t host synchronous online classes. It was really hard just in the sense that I feel like no one was learning anything.

Minh Ly, Parent: Keeping students engaged in person is already a challenge enough, and trying to do that in an online environment, I think it’s exponentially more difficult.

Eden Murray, Student: I mean, we’re not learning as much as we used to. And I like seeing my friends and my teachers because in fifth grade I haven’t met my teachers yet.

Dave Fraser, Connecting Point: It was last March when school buildings shut down and teachers and administrators tried to use technology to keep the public education system up and running. Families had to pivot, and figure out ways to help their children learn at home while continuing to fulfill their responsibilities to their employers.

In East Longmeadow, The Murrays have three kids in public school ten-year-old Eden, eight-year-old Weston, and five-year-old Judson. They also host a girl from the neighborhood occasionally because her parents are not able to work from home.

Kara Murray,: This here is kindergarten, I would say. This is  uh  Mrs. Robi’s kindergarten classroom, Judson here. And it’s also Bay Path University Student Financial Services Office. And so it’s all-in-one room.

Hayes Murray: It’s working. It’s working. I think the remote learning is working for certain age groups.

For Judson, again, they’re doing the best they can, but it’s really challenging for him to be on an iPad for six hours a day. The challenge is, is us working and managing him, listening in, making sure he has his supplies.And when he’s doing the right thing, he’s not misbehaving and is muted. I don’t know how many “Judson, are you muted? Are you muted?”

You know, God forbid you say something that you shouldn’t and you’re not muted, and the entire kindergarten kindergarten class hears you.

Kara Murray: Ten fifteen snack for the third grade.

I don’t want anyone to think that it’s been amazing. It’s been really challenging to wear a lot of different hats at the same time. And you’re juggling a lot of things at the same time. So, there have been days where more likely than not, I end out the day and I feel like a failure in a lot of ways because I’m not giving my best at work or the way that I know that I can work, and I don’t feel like I’m giving my best to the kids. It has not been easy.

Dave Fraser: In January, the Murrays received a glimmer of hope when word came that kids in their town would begin a hybrid schedule, and spend a portion of their learning time back in the classroom.

Kara Murray: We’re really looking forward to the future where we’ll have this disease behind us, and God willing, the kids will go back to school. And we’ll be able to go back to work, and things will be better again.