Carson City mother describes distance learning in her home

From left, Gracie, Chloe, Kaden and Kael Walt on the first
day of school of the 2019-20 school year.

From left, Gracie, Chloe, Kaden and Kael Walt on the first day of school of the 2019-20 school year.

Molly Walt, a mother of four children with three attending Carson High School and the fourth going to Carson Middle School, says Carson City School District’s transition to remote learning in March wasn’t difficult. Being a former educator herself and now working for the state, she anticipated the recent shelter-in-place mandates concerning the COVID-19 pandemic were bound to happen.

The Walt family has been doing well for about a month of studying at home, with Molly’s older kids, twins Kaden and Chloe, completing their Advanced Placement studies but missing out on their social time, freshman Gracie and youngest son Kael also keeping up with their classes.

But receiving this week’s news from Gov. Steve Sisolak that schools would be closed for the remainder of the year still was painful.

“You knew it,” she said. “In the back of our minds, we knew we weren’t going back to school, there’s just no way. The curve wasn’t flattening. You just knew it, but to hear it out loud, it just brought it to the surface, and it was extremely emotional.”

The Carson City School District announced in March it would transition to remote learning to students, using a Google Classroom platform for instruction for the secondary levels and teachers creating packets as needed for assignments. The Walts, a family of six, with Molly and her husband working their remote schedules and the four children, have their computers to complete their business or homework and all have adapted with relative ease to working with each other at home.

“The teachers are interactive, they’re doing lessons online and they’re calling on the students,” Molly said. “They’re getting called on, and so to have their computers on all at the same time – they did have to get the big headphones and with speakers and be in their own little world.

“Our house isn’t that big where each of them could have their own office. But the kids have seemed to be able to go online without any major hiccups, and that’s because the schools have been working on their part, and we’re thankful for that.”

With the exception of needing to attend one parent-teacher conference, all the kids are doing well, Molly said, and the one meeting was to help one of her children with homework because of lack of accessibility to a teacher and wanted to keep grades from declining further.

“She told us about office hours and said she was still available,” she described.

Molly, a management analyst working for the state, formerly worked for Carson City School District. She taught at Eagle Valley Middle School, Carson Middle School and went into adult education. She said she understood the work the district’s teachers are going through right now under the challenges of distance learning, elaborating on the lengths they go to as they video their daily lessons or e-mail students constantly to answer questions.

“No one’s on vacation right now,” she said.

Gracie, the freshman daughter, struggles more in Spanish and it’s harder for Molly to help at home as she’s away from her teachers.

“None of us are Spanish speakers, so I can empathize with other parents who may not be able to assist their kids,” she said. “This is difficult that I can’t help my child.”

Kael, attending CMS, who finishes his homework and says it’s easy to navigate Google Classroom, enjoys the distance learning arrangement for the most part.

“My teacher does one assignment for two days; you just have to complete the one assignment,” he said.

Molly said she’s found the teachers are missing being with the kids as much as the kids miss being in the classroom.

“They are really working to help these students,” she said. “They’re also asking the questions, ‘How are you doing?’ They’re missing the kids. I don’t know one teacher that hasn’t said, ‘I miss you guys.’ ”


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