Broadband & Beyond series kicks off with focus on remote learning

Bertie County School Superintendent Dr. Otis Smallwood offered valuable insights and  tips on remote learning, as the community continues to grapple with its many challenges.  His remarks were presented as part of the “Back to school: Overcoming the challenges of remote learning” webinar,  hosted by Roanoke Electric Co-op on Sept. 10.

“Everything happened all at once, and it has shaken up the way that we’ve traditionally done instruction,” Smallwood said, referring to the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  “While schools have internet access, we soon realized the struggle for students at home and some teachers as well. Most families still connect to the internet with their cellular devices.  We soon noticed that the high participation we saw at first soon declined, as data plans ran out.”

He also shed light on the school system’s response to the crisis. Schools were able to secure laptops for their students to use remotely. They also made families aware of places they could have internet access for free, including community “park-and-learn” locations, which offers free and publicly accessible WiFi for students.  In addition, school buses were also equipped with hot spots and are being strategically placed in communities.

Smallwood offered the following remote learning tips for parents and students:

  • Patience is key.  Please be patient with your children as well as staff.
  • Keep safety and well-being a top priority.
  • Be mindful that the child has access to this technology, and check in every now and then to make sure they are using it properly.
  • Use your resources.  Students have access to tech support for any issues they may confront.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.  If parents have any suggestions, be sure to share it.