STREETSBORO, Ohio — Ohio's schools have been closed since Governor Mike DeWine issued the order on March 17 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, the education of students is continuing through online learning.
In the Streetsboro City School District, teachers are finding creative ways to engage students beyond emailing class assignments to students. Through the use of technology tools like Google Classroom, and video conferencing via Google Meet and Zoom, students are attending virtual classes that even include music and band practice. With the use of Flipgrid, teachers are able to send personal instructional videos, and students are able to share their own videos with the class.
"They can see their teacher, they can talk to their teacher," said Tiffany Schasser, mother of Logan, 10, and Brianna, 8. "And once I figure [the technology] out, it helps them learn better."
Schasser admits she's not the most knowledgeable about the use of technology, but says her children seem to be accessing and thriving with the online classrooms as best as they can.
"I feel the outlook at the end of the school year is they'll be fine," said father, Brian Schasser. He added he's been impressed with the teachers' efforts thus far.
However, it hasn't been easy for everyone: According to U.S. Census data, 14% of Streetsboro households still lack internet access, which is essential to online learning.
"We have a lot of families out there that don't even have access to a smartphone, so how do those families access curriculum? That is the challenge," said Mike Daulbaugh, superintendent of Streetsboro City Schools.
Students without computers or internet access are receiving paper packets of school work, and teachers are accessible by phone. The district has plans to provide Chromebooks for the families in need, and is providing free public WiFi in the schools' parking lots, where families can connect to curriculum right from their cars.
"I have to tell you, that teachers are the most creative people that I know," said Daulbaugh. "I can sit in my office and talk to you and say I've got this idea and that idea, but you throw a group of teachers together in a room, and they come up with things that are actually -- You're like, 'Whoa! I never thought of that!'" he said.
With online learning extended until at least May 1, families can access free public WiFi in the parking lots of most public library branches, including Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Portage County Public Library, and Akron-Summit Public Library.
According to Carla Davis, spokesperson for Akron-Summit Public Library, parents should make sure that children are accompanied by an adult in the parking lots, and families should remain in their cars to maintain social distancing.