Kanawha County teachers, students adjusting to the new normal of remote learning

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teachers in the state’s largest school district, Kanawha County Schools, are into their third-week teaching remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county began the school year Sept. 8 with the all online designation and there is no end in sight as the county’s COVID-19 numbers remain high enough for a ‘red’ or ‘orange’ designation on the county alert map by the DHHR.

Cristin Palumbo, a math teacher at George Washington HS told 580-WCHS that students are settling into the new normal of their learning on the platform Schoology.

“At the beginning of the year, they were confused and they felt like it was weird. Today (Tuesday), they were much more positive and said it’s good and they were doing well. they said they were settling into more of their routine,” she said.

Palumbo, who is in her fifth year at GWHS and teaches Algebra 2, Pre-calculus and Trigonometry, said while she prefers the in-person aspect of teaching and learning for the students, teachers have the ability to have a personal touch with remote learning.

“A kid can send me a Schoology message that says ‘I don’t know how to do number 12’ and I can make an instructional video on my iPad and I can push that out to him through Schoology and he can see what I did and ask follow up questions or say that it helps him,” Palumbo said.

She added that GWHS has tried to keep students in a regular routine with certain classes at the same period times as a normal in-person school day.

The same goes for Capital High School in Charleston, says longtime biology teacher Bill Dorsey. He told 580-WCHS that he is posting regularly at the same time to keep students in his regular biology, honors biology and AP biology classes engaged.

“They are still learning on the curve themselves as to how to adjust to the information and delivery method,” he said.

“A lot of the kids are constantly asking questions and reaching out, constantly looking for feedback.”

Dorsey believes there is going to be a shift in education following the pandemic.

“Immediately afterward it’s going to be a transition period in how we manage equity between the in-person and the distance learning. I think from here on out, if we see kids that have success with the virtual learning, we are going to see more options available,” he said.

Kanawha County went back in the red on the DHHR map on Tuesday with a 25.66 average number of cases per 100,000. Schools in the county have not been able to hold any extracurricular activities either.