Schools Introduced Distance Learning with Zoom Calls

Student is on iPad during and online distance learning Zoom call during pandemic
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Student is on iPad during and online distance learning Zoom call during pandemic

In March 2020, most public elementary schools essentially shut down in-person learning for the remainder of the 2020 school year. They had good intentions. Some schools started out closing for just 2 weeks, which turned into two more weeks, and then that slid into just shutting it down for the rest of the year to get to the summer.

Some districts were caught flat footed without a real plan. To be fair, the situation and the outlook could change almost every single day, and the science behind the virus (mask efficacy, transmission risk, etc.) was very fluid. No one saw a global event at the magnitude of COVID-19 coming, so being a little unprepared at the beginning could be forgiven.

As parents, we showed grace, and gave the school districts the summer to prepare a plan for the 2020-2021 school year that could keep everyone safe, but most importantly get the kids learning again.

More than three-quarters of the 50 largest school districts in the United States decided to start the school year remotely, and most other smaller districts followed.

The concept of having elementary-aged kids sitting at home, receiving an hour or two of remote lessons, then being left on their own to complete assignments, and to pass this off as “education” is one of the most flawed ideas that came from COVID-19. Plain and simple, it did not work.

For teachers, the task was impossible. Elementary students are difficult to keep engaged even in the best of times. While their classroom was a living room or a bedroom with all the stimuli (devices, video games, Netflix), was a ridiculous challenge. If you were lucky enough to monitor a teaching session, half of the Zoom call was teachers telling students to mute themselves, reminding them not to have their pets on camera, and please no doodling on the screen. The portion of the day where students were left on their own was no better on the kids. They would have no help if the assignments were confusing or they had technology problems. Their teachers were busy with something else, and their two working parents were, you know, working.

If we can commit to one thing moving forward, let’s commit to ditching distance learning forever and burying those stupid iPads in the same field they dumped all those unsold E.T. games for Atari (ask Siri).

"This book will make you laugh and feel ALL the feelings."

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"One of the most delightful reads of this year! I highly recommend."

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"Funny and fun to read. What a fun way to put the pandemic in perspective."

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Picture of author Anthony Faust

About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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