Mom of four: youngest struggles with virtual learning while eldest thrives

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Yesterday was many families’ first day sending kids back to classrooms, but some kept their children at home.

Cathryn Cary is a mom of four and a medical professional. After seeing many people in her community test positive for coronavirus, she decided virtual learning would be their safest choice.

“It worries me that if I do send them back to in-person learning, are they going to test positive? Are they going to get sick?” asked Cary.

On Tuesday, her kids got on their laptops and iPads for their first day of school. It didn’t go as well as she hoped.

“A child isn’t going to be able to know how to switch back-and-forth between an email and their assignment without messing something up. I couldn’t tell you how many times I had to sign my kids back into their portal because they said ‘mom, I need to ask the teacher something but I don’t know what to do.'”

Her 4th-grader struggled with emailing the teacher while her son in kindergarten struggled to stay focused with an iPad in hand. To make matters worse, her family now has to buy a printer.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t have the financial ability to be able to afford to go out and buy a $150 printer.”

Things aren’t all bad. Cary’s 6th grade daughter loves the virtual format, saying it’s nice to be able to move at her own pace. Even so, Cathryn wants to send her kids back to the classroom.

“These people¬† were more concerned about their child’s health…if i send my kid to school, are they going to catch this virus? Now, the worry is ‘how am I going to teach my kid?'”

She’s not alone. Several other Raleigh County parents want to switch after having a rough first day online. Other counties like Mercer and Wyoming counties give parents the option to switch learning methods, but it seems that Raleigh County doesn’t offer that option.

“I called Bradley Elementary and they told me they could not re-enroll them until next year for in-person,” said Cary. “Then, I called and spoke with the Board of Education and they told me that Bradley had been misinformed. After the first nine weeks, they would have the option to switch them back into in person learning, so that’s what I’m hoping to do.

WOAY reached out to the Raleigh County Board of Education for clarification, but was unable to get in touch before deadline.

Talking to parents on Facebook, WOAY found that many had virtual learning headaches, but not all regret the decision. Meanwhile, those that sent their children to class seemed to have mostly positive experiences.

Kassie Simmons
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.