Santa Barbara Unified School District released updates on Parent Square, the app the district uses to inform parents, as well as its website Monday afternoon to give an update on the reopening process.
School principals are beginning to ask students what they’d like: online or in-person learning? Parents will soon be asked the same question.
To gauge what the community thinks, the News-Press set out to State Street Tuesday to ask people what they think about virtual learning.
Santa Barbara resident Tim Karman said he wishes all his kids could return to school. His youngest attends Montecito Union School and is able to go in person, but the older children at Santa Barbara Middle and Santa Barbara High schools still do their work from home.
“I would prefer to have my kids in school,” he said. “If they have to practice social distancing, that’s fine.”
He thinks the county has been too cautious by delaying opening schools. He thought all of his kids would be back in person by now.
“Distance learning has not been effective when kids get irritable,” he said. “My daughter has been getting dizzy sitting at the computer all day.”
His children are motivated learners and rarely need help to do homework and keep up with classes. He wishes they could have more interaction with their teacher and peers.
“It’s super boring for the kids to be on the computer all day,” he said.
Alex Lucero, an 8-year-old Santa Clarita student, agreed.
“It’s boring, and I don’t get to see my friends,” he said. His dad, Rick Lucero, said Alex enjoys the social component of school most.
His 9-year-old son Ricky likes the challenge distance learning provides but also misses his friends.
“It’s more challenging, and you have to improvise,” he said. “If something doesn’t work, you have to try something else.”
The kids’ mom helps with the homework, but they usually don’t need much help during class. Others take a less laid-back approach.
“Just like anything, it’s learning new things,” Mr. Lucero said.
Seal Beach resident Larry Vander Schaaf doesn’t like virtual learning at all. He doesn’t think it’s effective, and his wife agrees.
“I think the kids need to be back in the classroom because the computer doesn’t cut it,” Sharon Vander Schaaf said.
The Vander Schaafs are grandparents to four, though only two are school-aged. Ms. Vander Schaaff is glad they’re meeting physically at their private school.
San Jose resident Kim Toves said she feels bad for parents working from home while trying to assist kids with their Zoom classes.
Her children are in college or out of school, so she doesn’t have direct experience with virtual classes. But she hears her daughters complain.
Her daughters tell her they wish they had more interaction with professors. One goes to San Jose State and the other attends Cal Poly, and both schools are only meeting online.
But since they already had a living situation working out and signed for their place, they left home this fall to live near campus. Many students are living there although they only communicate to professors and peers online.
No one seemed to love the idea of virtual learning (though 9-year-old Ricky had a positive tone), but some accept it as part of 2020’s challenges.
The Santa Barbara Unified School District estimates a full reopening by mid-January, but more information is expected in coming weeks.