The COVD-19 pandemic has rapidly consumed the life of citizens in the last few months. It has brought physical, emotional, and mental turmoil to just about everyone and one group that has been hit hard are school students. In order to stay safe, many schools have opted to continue their teaching online. This raises many problems, especially to students who struggle economically. Many children and teens do not have computers or Wi-Fi to complete school online. And while many schools have provided computers and Wi-Fi to students, many still struggle with inadequate technology at home.
Alliee Hackney, a student at Kuna High School, reports that her school was able to provide computers to students, saying “… each student was provided a Chromebook and a charger. We take them with us every day so we can work on assignments and attend online classes.” Hackney also weighed in how the issue of some students not being able to afford Wi-Fi or a computer. “I think a lot of kids were struggling because they couldn’t afford Wi-Fi and they didn’t have a computer of laptop at home to do work on.” said Hackney.
Avry Marlatt, a student here at Rocky, responded to the question on if she believes some kids had trouble with their learning, stating “…I myself had problems with my computer. I wasn’t able to get anything done. I would spend most of my day stressing whether I would get any school done or not. It would really interrupt with my education”. Marlatt also expressed how she feels the school has handled these technology issues. “…I feel the schools did as much as [they] could to help the students who cannot afford computers and Wi-Fi. I mean they gave all the students computers, and I would get calls from teachers who wanted to make sure we have internet and it not they offered a hotspot for us to use”, said Marlatt.
When asked if she feels that kids who struggle economically had more difficulty with technology than others, Mrs. Kozlowski, a secretary at Rocky, shared that she does. “I do, I really do. When we were having a difficult time with the school computers for the first couple weeks, they didn’t have access to home computer’s or some of them didn’t have Wi-Fi and we ran out of hotspots, so they didn’t have a way to hook up their school computer. And also, I think most did not have a parent in the home to help them get through those troubleshooting things, even if their computer was working, there was no one there to help them and encourage them,” Mrs. Kozlowski said. Like many other schools, Rocky experienced technology issues that were very challenging to students. “The phones were ringing off the hook, and it didn’t stop for the entire eight hours I was there. I think at first, the computers weren’t working, just because of other issues. Some kids hadn’t ever even seen Teams before, especially new student, they didn’t know what Teams was, they didn’t know how to access their classes, they had no clue how to access anything.” reported Mrs. Kozlowski. Mrs. Kozlowski explained that another issue that occurred was the many phone calls from stressed parents and students. “One particular mom called in and her and her husband work at home, they have eight kids that were trying to get onto computers for school and nothing was working, there was too many people trying to get onto sync at the same time, so I told her to turn all the computers off, meet in the kitchen and go make some cinnamon rolls. …I don’t think learning can happen if there’s those stresses”.
Learning is important to all kids of all ages and no matter their economic status; a child deserves an education. Creating an equal learning atmosphere is vital in the wake of COVID and Rocky Mountain High School, along with so many other schools, is doing everything they can to insure of this.