If you are a parent during this COVID-19 pandemic, you’re well aware of the fact that your life has been drastically different since the tail end of last school year. Distance learning was implemented due to Coronavirus, and every single parent was thrust into the teacher seat and faced stress, head-on.
But, it looked different for every family, right? At this point I’ve ranted, vented with, and listened to so many parents about how it affected us.
Some threw their hands up towards the middle of distance learning during the Spring 2020 Semester, due to being unable to work from home, or remote while trying to keep up with the daily lessons. Some children didn’t enjoy it and couldn’t properly engage.
Technical issues with laptops ensued; communication issues with teachers; trying to stay organized; understanding the lessons themselves; etc.
The vast experiences are endless and varied drastically for everyone.
My heart goes out to ALL of you, all of us, and every teacher. My appreciation for you runs deeper than I ever imagined and knew it would. I always admired teachers and understood the magnitude of what they do, in part, because of my background in substitute teaching.
We knew that this upcoming year might face challenges, but we didn’t know exactly what they would be. This is such an uncertain time with so many questions, yet little answers.
So when I first got my email about Onslow Virtual School (OVS), I braced myself. This was before the county had announced its option(s). OVS will be a fully online virtual experience, where licensed teachers will use real-time instructing and self-paced strategies. You have to make a year long commitment, and you have to make that commitment by July 22nd, which is today.
This has proved challenging for many parents, as making an informed decision is very difficult without knowing in-depth details. My children had a successful experience with distance learning but I still was unsure about committing to OVS for an entire year, and also wished I had longer to make the decision.
I simply did not know what to do but the first thought was just “okay, we want to keep them safe, we will keep them home, hands down.”
Then, after a survey was sent home, Plan B was decided on per the OCS Board of Education: children will be divided into two groups, with one attending Monday/Tuesday and the other Thursday/Friday. Wednesdays “will be used for cleaning, planning, tutoring, and more,” per the official email.
When presented with this option, this got my wheels to turning, as I’m sure it did yours:
- Okay, this seems like a realistic combination of in-person and distance learning; but
- How long will it last? Is it feasible? Is it safe?
- What happens if a teacher or child gets sick?
- Will they then allow us to enroll in Onslow Virtual School or will school be closed for a certain amount of days?
- Will children be in masks all day?
- Can they really be expected to wear them all day?
- If I have all these questions, is the best option just to bite the bullet and entrust OVS for the next year?
- As a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), I definitely have the option of being home at all times, even though my rising middle-schooler is telling me he would rather do Plan B
- What about dual working parents?
- How will EITHER of these options work for them, whether they are remote or are working from home?
As I’ve been having these continuous conversations with various parents around Sneads Ferry, the one thing we all agree on is everyone knows that doing virtual school for the kids is beyond challenging.
FYI: I did learn today that if you did sign up for OVS, you have until August 1st to actually change your mind. A fellow parent was told that upon reaching out to Onslow County School System.
So, Ferry Family, what are you thoughts, concerns, and predicaments?
Have you made a decision? How are your kids feeling about all this?
It’s a lot to take in and we are all in this together. I’ve enjoyed the family time together. I’ve enjoyed not stumbling out of bed like a mummy and racing to the bus stop with the kids.
By the way, I will not be using the bus system if we do opt for Plan B, what about you?
Here’s what I do know: I know that we all our trying our best and want the best for our children and to keep them safe. I know that we all have different situations and we have to make a very difficult decision based off what is best for our families. This impacts so many of us and my hope is that we will band together to help one another, and I have already seen this taking place. I’ve seen where moms are planning educational play dates and creative ways and outlets for learning outside of virtual school. I will be documenting my personal experience after the school year starts, and will share my tips, challenges, and victories!
Here’s to fun and meaningful learning for all our kids in the upcoming school year!
We hope you will keep sharing your silver linings and positive experiences with us, while banding together to navigate this crisis together.
Follow OCS online / social media:
- Website: Onslow County Schools
- Facebook: OCSNC
- Twitter: @OnslowSchools
- Instagram: onslowcountyschools
- YouTube: onslowcountyschools
Update: Jacksonville Daily News also published today a Q&A on Onslow’s return to school questions which you can read here: https://www.jdnews.com/news/20200722/q–a-onslow-school-official-answers-return-to-school-questions