Some Schools Struggle to Get Students to Return After Months of Remote Learning

When doors swung open at District of Columbia Public Schools in February, teacher Landon Garvik’s fourth grade classroom sat empty. Not one student returned for in-person learning.

After weeks of Ms. Garvik’s consistent phone calls, nine children are now back four days a week while 11 of their classmates still learn at home. Parents, Ms. Garvik said, felt the timing wasn’t right and expressed hesitation about sending their children back out of fear of a child catching Covid-19 or bringing the virus home to an elderly relative.

“It caused me to kind of reflect and think about how I was reaching out to families,” Ms. Garvik said of the low number of families choosing to return to in-person learning to her class at C.W. Harris Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Half of school districts nationwide now offer school fully in person, but some classrooms remain largely empty. With billions in federal funding to support reopening and vaccinations—now available to children 12 years and older—schools are ramping up efforts to lure back families in time for summer school and the fall.

They are calling parents at home and sending frequent email blasts. Community organizers are door knocking. Some schools are offering outdoor sports like soccer to all children, including remote learners, in hopes it will nudge the parents to sign up for in-person learning. Others are working with local community organizations or the YMCA to offer transportation outside of bus service or after-school programs that might make a return to the classroom more feasible.

Source: WSJ – US News

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