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Survey: SWFL students, teacher say they prefer in-class learning

With this one for the history books, the school year is all but over. What we learned from you — teachers, parents and students — is that 70% of you prefer kids going to class compared to distance learning.

This just scratches the surface of what we learned from our survey.

No one has the same experience going to school and now we know, no one has the same experience learning from home.

Distance learning works differently for different people.

“I have one kid who’s doing better than the other, yes,” said Tree Line Elementary parent, Kim Hale.

“I worry for the kids that aren’t tech-savvy. It’s not as easy for them to navigate,” said Lee County school teacher, Collen Cancini.

Student Makayla Davis says it’s easy for her, where student Brandon Hale says he’s barely learned anything new.

“We’re gonna see a lot of varied levels coming back into the school year,” said Estero High School teacher, Heather Morse. “That’s where I’m envisioning, where learning gaps might take place.”

Story continues below graphic.

Despite those teacher concerns, 77% of students who answered our survey say they’re ready for the fall. Their parents — a little less confident at 61%.

“My daughter’s lowest grade in a class was a 95,” said 9th-grade parent, Sandra Stubblefield. “Not everyone learns the same way, not everybody is going to be able to pull their education from a laptop like she was able to.”

“I can still manage to get all my school work done and get all the information I need,” said Estero High School 10th-grader, Joey Bagby.

“It’s nice being able to work at your own pace,” said Lehigh Senior High School 9th-grader, Georgia Fries.

“It’s been a struggle,” said Pelican Marsh Elementary mom, Justine Davis. “We have two, so it’s hard to go back and forth.”

“Just trying to get them to finish their school work without me doing it for them,” Hale said, “because they don’t want to do it!”

DOCUMENT: See the full results of the survey as of 12 p.m., June 6.

TAKE THE SURVEY: We’ve kept the survey open so you can have your say, too.

Keeping kids focused, these parents say, might just be the hardest part.

“It’s been hard to focus at times because there’s no real structure to it,” Fries said.

“At home, I’m not focused because they’re stuff around me,” said Pelican Marsh Elementary student, Avery Davis. “It’s really hard to concentrate.”

“I kind of feel like I’m learning less,” said 3rd-grader, Jordan Hale.

From the other side of the screen, teachers feel it too.

“There are a number of students that this medium does not work for. At all,” Cancini said.

“It’s challenging to keep the kids engaged and motivated when we don’t see them every day,” Morse said.

Nearly 60% of our teachers say they’re not prepared for the fall, but still, less than half want to go back in September.

Why? How will they get kids of any and all ages to practice social distancing?

“I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to implement them. I don’t see us being able to do that effectively,” Morse said. “How do you have a kindergartner not want to hug their teacher?”

“High school students hug their teachers too,” Cancini said.

Those hugs matter and so does kids being with other kids. Social interaction is critical to kids’ mental well-being. What our local schools will do come fall is a work in progress.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
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