SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Chedez Kinchen has been juggling work, taking care of her grandmother and making sure her two kids are staying alert during their online classes.
She decided to keep both her middle schooler and high schooler at home for virtual learning, because her grandmother is a dialysis patient.
“With her health like it is, it was just taking an extra chance on exposing them to the school kids, and then coming home to her,” Kinchen said.
However, after just a week and a half of virtual learning, she said she already knows that it does not work well for her and her family.
“I’m a parent, an educated parent, but I am not an educator. I learned that within the first two weeks,” Kinchen said, laughing.
Kinchen is not the only parent coming to this realization.
During the school board meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree said the percentage of e-learners dropped from 54% to 43% since the school year started. Caddo Parish Chief Academic Officer Keith Burton said more and more students are actually moving from virtual learning back to in-person learning after trying it.
“Something we’ve said all along: online learning is very difficult,” Burton said.
The district is also experiencing some delays. As of Wednesday, the district has provided more than 5,000 devices for families, with online-only students getting priority.
“If we had multiple siblings, ensuring that we had at least one device in the home,” Burton said.
He also said in-person students may need to share devices and/or use lab spaces, cleaning them between each use.
Burton said the district ordered 8,011 Chromebooks and 2,502 laptops in spring/early summer. The district is expecting those to come in within the next two weeks.
At that time, he said every student should have a device, including those in the same household.
“When we ordered, so did, I think, everyone else,” Burton said, explaining the reason for the delay.
Burton said another reason for the delayed order is because a vendor in China was cited for potential human rights violations.
So far, the district has bought 74,110 devices. Burton said CARES Act funding is paying for all of the new devices.