More than a week since welcoming students back to campus, Lake Havasu City schools are still working out the bugs of a hybrid learning system. That was to be expected. We’re all doing things we’ve never done before, and managing onsite classes while a pretty good number of students remain at home for distant learning was never going to be an easy task. The district has mostly handled this transition pretty well.

That said, we have some notes.

Parents who chose to keep their children at home are feeling a little slighted after distance learning didn’t turn out to be quite what they expected. When the school year started last month, families had to adapt to the online learning process. It was a major adjustment — harder for some than it was for others, but most families settled into routines that worked for them. Now, the district has abandoned much of the distance learning infrastructure it put into place at the beginning of the year, instead requiring students to fill out classroom on paper that gets turned in once a week.

At the elementary level, scheduled online meetings with classes are apparently a thing of the past. Finally, families were told that there would be teachers or assistants assigned to children who elected to keep the distance learning office. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Many students still have their original assigned teachers, which could be great for consistency’s sake —except the teachers’ attention is now divided between in-classroom students and online learners. It’s not hard to predict which side will get more attention. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” seems to apply here.

None of this is the end of the world. Families and teachers adapted once, and they can do it again. But it’s definitely a step backward for those students who are still staying at home.

It’s clear the district has staffing challenges, and it may not be a realistic option to hire enough workers to operate a successful physical school site and accommodate distance learners at the same time. Most families will understand those challenges and most, no doubt, are willing to roll with the punches as they’ve done throughout this pandemic.

The silver lining on all of this is that our numbers are headed in the right direction and it seems logical to conclude that students could be back on campus full time in about a month if the downward trend continues.

Until then, we hope the district continues to give as much attention to the needs of distance learners as it does to students who are in a physical classroom.

— Today’s News-Herald

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