MONETT, Mo. (KY3) -- Many schools in the Ozarks are switching to virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the switch can bring new difficulties to schools, especially those in rural areas.
It's one thing for students in Springfield Public Schools to do classwork online due to it being more infrastructure in a city of its size. But rural school districts like Monett can bring new challenges.
Monett School District Superintendent, Russ Moreland says his teachers needed to focus on getting electronic devices to the nearly 2,500 students in the district. They also had to find out who had access to the internet and what other options they needed to ensure all students can adequately learn. Moreland said being in a rural area; they have more students with internet access than they expected. However, the district is helping families that don't, find resources and alternatives before the start of online classes on Monday, April 6th.
Moreland said he doesn't want to overwhelm students, parents or staff. That's why the district is working hard to get everyone set up and solve any problems because this is uncharted territory.
While there are pros and cons to virtual learning, the Monett School District is hoping students, staff and parents look at the pandemic and virtual classes as a moment for growth and new opportunity.
"This is one time to focus on if this can assist kids in learning, how to problem solve, how to create, how to communicate differently and how to overcome adversity," explained Moreland.
Moreland said the chaos due to COVID-19 means the district isn't doing standardized testing or state assessments. While purely online learning is incredibly new for the Monett Schools, Moreland said it's also a chance to learn flexibility. Teachers are going to be able to teach skills and lessons instead of prep for the usual testing this time of year.
"We'll continue to evaluate how this is going and what hurdles we face and how we get through those hurdles," assured Moreland.
Teachers will give families forms to fill out to help with communication, so no child is left behind. All students in the district with internet access were given devices to access virtual classes. The Monett School District has listed other resources and tools for students and families here to help accommodate and prepare for online courses.