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'The kids have suffered enough': CCS students face virtual learning challenges on first day of school

A Columbus grandmother is concerned about the impact virtual learning will have on her grandsons.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nearly 4,500 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, and other educational professionals who are part of the Columbus Education Association are on strike after they couldn't come to an agreement with the Columbus Board of Education.

On day three of the strike, their students began the school year virtually.

While sitting in front of a laptop, Jerry Moore tackles his first day of fifth grade. "It's hard for me to, like, focus," he said. 

Unlike years before, the school year started in their grandmother's living room and not the classroom, which presented its own challenges.

"For someone like me, it's kind of hard to [focus] because I have ADHD and when I'm at home, that's my time to run around," Moore said. 

With the ongoing strike, he and his brother, Anthony Thompson, are missing out on the typical first day of school.

"They were really looking forward to going to school and they didn't get to, so they were kind of bummed," said Sherrie Baisden, Moore's grandmother. "Their mother is trying to work two full-time jobs, trying to make sure the kids are going to school, and getting all of their assignments done."

On the non-traditional first day, the boys said they were confused. They said assignments weren't clear. And they struggled to find where to start.

"I'm thinking that the kids have suffered enough with the COVID outbreak. I think they should be allowed to go back to school," Baisden said.

CCS Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon released a statement late Wednesday afternoon, saying the district "fell short" on the first day of the school year, but will work to fix the issues.

"I want to assure you that our team is working hard to improve the systems and processes in place as we move forward in this unique environment. We are adjusting how we distribute technology resources and how we monitor attendance while improving access to our online resources. We will continue to work until we solve these problems," Dixon wrote in the statement.

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