Large number of students not doing distance learning at some Northeast Ohio schools

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found big numbers of school kids are ignoring assignments they’re expected to be doing at home with school buildings closed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Some are doing only some of the work and others aren’t doing any of it. For weeks, schools across the state have been carrying out what’s become known as distance learning, assignments given to students to complete online.

But Akron Public Schools told us just 46 percent of students are logging in regularly. In Parma, 49 percent. One charter school teacher we checked with told us involvement ranged from 53 percent to 79 percent depending on the age of the kids.

Akron also told the district had not heard anything at all from 14 percent of the students there.

“I’m a little taken aback by parents who say the school year’s a waste,” said Lisa Metta-McDade, who is raising three kids in Cleveland. She added her kids do their online studies, but they also need a push now and then.

“I have to make sure they’re doing their online assignments and not on YouTube or something. So, it’s been real fun,” Metta-McDade said.

Her children told us it can be hard motivating themselves at home to get the work done.

We checked with the state. We found no specific attendance guidelines with schools closed. The state said it expects every school to make a “good-faith effort” to see that kids are getting classwork done. At the same time, state education leaders admit not every kid has a computer and trying to learn in some homes can be nearly impossible.

Also in Cleveland, Sharon Irby is proud of her daughter, but she said only a couple of her daughter’s teachers have followed through with giving assignments.

“She’s only heard from two of her teachers,” Irby said. “They need a better system in place as far as you can do virtual classes. I think the kids need to see that face of their instructor.

The Catholic Diocese issued a statement:

“Most Catholic schools report 100 percent active engagement of students and all are near 100 percent, with the majority of Catholic schools holding regular virtual meetings with students.”

Hudson City Schools issued a statement:

“Hudson City Schools have made every effort to ensure students are regularly participating in their classes and completing their assigned work. Students in grades 6-12 will be earning letter grades based on their assignments, assessments, and projects. Students in grades K-5 will also be issued their report cards. By proceeding with our typical grading scale, it was a way to help us monitor student engagement and participation.”

One local teacher shared with us a spreadsheet showing how complicated it can be simply keeping track of which students are doing what.

The I-Team also reached out to several other Northeast Ohio school districts. The others did not respond, or told us they were in the process of gathering their numbers for students and their online coursework.

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