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No child left behind

The current virtual school term brought on by COVID-19 has been challenging in many different ways for those directly involved, whether they are an educator, student or parent.

“There are days when you literally feel like you’re having an anxiety attack because there is so much coming at you,” Tamara Springer a mother of two said.

She was part of a virtual focus group of parents who shared some of the daily challenges they face with the online classes which started in September.

But according to these parents, their struggles began before the term kicked off with the purchasing of devices.

“I had to upgrade my old laptop for my daughter because it was rather too slow for her to even log on to any classroom,” Rachiel Ramsamooj said.

“We were using our phones previously for my daughter to attend classes for SEA online and when schools closed my son was also using his phone so it wasn’t something we anticipated spending on,” she continued.

Springer chimed in and said her family had to improvise with the devices they had as she spent all her money on their booklists.

“My laptop that I would usually use for my personal work and to do my other sideline stuff I now have to give her to accommodate her schooling,” she said.

The mother of two works on a rotation but said navigating both work and online classes can be challenging especially with a five-year-old who is not as settled as her 12-year-old.

“Really and truly, you feel like pulling out your hair,” she explained.

Single father Rhondall Feeles said the challenge for him as a businessman is relying on his employees to carrying on his business as he supervises his two boys.

Ramsamooj, a stay-at-home mother, said while she doesn’t share in that experience, she’s part of an SEA group where many parents expressed the difficulties of working from home and supervising children in classes.

“Some of us may have one or two children, some of us have four,” she said.

The full-time mom did however share that she cannot carry on her duties as freely as she did before because there is no one close to watch her children during the day.

For Asasha Delzin, a single mother of two, she leaves her children in the care of neighbours as her job requires her physical presence daily.

“There is no one with them at all times which is scary for me,” she said.

Another challenge the parents highlighted was their inability to explain the work as a teacher would.

Feeles said he was thankful that his brother was a teacher.

“Sometimes the primary school work is so far back that you know to get the answer but sometimes explaining to them is a challenge,” he said.

“As a parent, I studied business my son is doing sciences I can’t really assist him with anything,” Ramsamooj added.

Now the parents said they will do whatever it takes to ensure their children are not left behind admitted that the process this term has been challenging and scary.

“My biggest fear is that I wasn’t able to give my children the best of me during this time having to split it up with so many other things,” Delzin said.

“You wonder if you’re doing the right thing,” said Ramsamooj.

The parent told Guardian Media that they will make a decision on whether their children will attend school if it reopens in January when they see the schedule.

“I need to see what is proposed and from there I will decide,” Carla Medez-Ambris said.