Families prepare for virtual learning as school year approaches

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – As students get ready to hit the books, parents might be ready to invest in new devices.

Many schools will kick off the school year online, leading some parents to wonder if their family is ready for the challenge. With so much unsure about the coming year, it can be difficult to decide what your student needs to succeed.

“Kindergarten is a crucial year,” said Oak Hill Primary School teacher Courtney Vargo. “This is the year they get to fall in love with school, so we take this responsibility not lightly at all. This is an important year for kids, so we just want them to be as normal in an un-normal situation as possible.”

Learning outside of the classroom can be challenging, especially for kindergarteners not used to the daily routine.

“Get your kids in the routine of going to school. Put them to bed early so they’re not struggling to get up early in the mornings. Practice with them. If they pack their lunch, have them practice opening their lunch and things like that.”

As you practice your typical routine, you can also prepare your student for virtual learning with educational apps.

“There are websites that parents can be using on their phones–especially for kindergartners. There’s an ABC app, StarFall, things like that that just familiarize them with being online.”

If you decide this is the time to buy a new device for your family, there are some things to keep in mind. Your student needs a device, but what’s more important is what that device can do. Students must be able to connect to WiFi and for older students, programs like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint can be a major help with assignments.

When in doubt, ask your child’s teacher.

“Teachers have always communicated through LiveGrades and that’s one way you can always get in touch with your teacher,” said Vargo. “Every administrator that I’ve worked with in every school on this campus is approachable, as well as the teachers. We are here for the kids.”

Many local schools, including those in Fayette County, will provide devices to its students. For those struggling with internet, some local businesses offer free WiFi to students, including Pinheads in Oak Hill.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.