KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools started virtually on Sept. 8. Weeks ago, 41 Action News talked with students and their mothers about returning to school amid the coronavirus pandemic. One week into the new year, we're checking in.
From technology issues to keeping track of classes and assignments digitally, two Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools students share how they have managed the transition to online instruction.
There were a few hiccups in the first week for 15-year-old Riley.
"It was really confusing finding classes because we had to enter a ton of codes," he said. "I almost missed one the first day, but I found it."
Samaiyah, 13, said the night classes began that she felt "really overwhelmed."
"I hadn't touched my school computer since getting it. At all," she said. "Microphone wouldn't work and then camera wouldn't work."
Though the technical issues were quickly resolved, the students said virtual school still is challenging to navigate.
"Our classes are about 30 minutes each," Riley said, "and one day we have all of them and two other days we have half and half and the classes are a little bit longer."
Samaiyah said she uses various tools to keep track of her classes and assignments.
"I'm using Outlook for my mail and my calendar. I'm using Microsoft Teams for my class times and I'm using Google Classroom for all my assignments," Samaiyah said. "Its been long. I mean, I wouldn't say long but its been tiring. I haven't moved at all."
Before this school year stared, all of the mothers 41 Action News interviewed supported online learning due to safety.
Now, Samara, Samaiyah's mother, feels differently.
"I joked that if I could have pulled up and just dropped her off in the front of the building and peeled off, I might have a couple of times. Like, I know y'all in there," she said."I'm watching how the learning is going. I don't think I heard her speak more than three times in an entire day because so much of it was conversation directly to her."
Samara also had a message for KCPS leaders.
"We want to come back and we want to be able to do this is a way that makes sense," she said, "but I hope that they really are thoughtful about how they engage parents in that process. I have been my kid's teacher since the spring. I have been the one helping to facilitate at-home instruction. Talk to me, please. We've got to come to the table to figure this out. They've got to be back in the building."
Riley, however, is loving online learning and thinks "some kids should be able to choose if they want to go back, but for some people it suits them better to do it from home."
Samaiyah also said she wants KCPS to know that while students are "excited to be online, but they're also going excited to go back to school."