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How has remote learning been working so far?

JeffCo Schools started the shift on March 16. We asked the superintendent how COVID-19 has impacted learning.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — On Tuesday, Denver Public Schools, the state's largest district, launches its remote learning plan. But, how has the change been working? 

Jefferson County Schools started doing it on March 16.

"Just keep adapting, adapting, adapting," Jefferson County Schools superintendent Dr. Jason Glass said.

JeffCo was the first major school district to switch from in-person classes to remote learning -- affecting more than 85,000 students. Glass said one of the biggest challenges is having teachers find the right work balance for students.

"Some kids that were assigned way too much work, they were spending 8-to-10 hours a day working school work," Glass said. "Some kids were able to finish in a half hour." 

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Tsavo Cole is a freshman at Arvada West High School. Tsavo said he is now used to the routine.

"I treat it like a regular school day," Tsavo said. "I go through all my classes in order and have a little lunch break, too."

But, he does say one issue is consistency of how assignments and information are shared with students.

"All the teachers are kind of doing their own way of planning things and telling kids how to do it and it can get kind of messy," Tsavo said.

Glass said other district-wide concerns include making sure all the students do the work and check in.

"You have to keep asking who are we missing? What students are not engaging? What students have not been able to reach? What families are still out there that we haven't made contact with?" Glass said. "Eventually, we can get into truancy issues if students really refuse, students and families refuse to take part in this. This is school and it's serious."

The superintendent said the district needs to make the shift to more asynchronous learning, meaning more assignments students can do outside of a timed, online class.

But, Tsavo said immediate feedback is one of the most important things missing.

"The difference here is you're not able to talk to your friends or talk to the teacher," Tsavo said.

The transition to remote learning is not perfect, according to Glass. But he said varying approaches and creativity must be embraced.

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"There are gonna be different ways of implementing this and you want that experimentation and ingenuity from your employees," Glass said.

Glass and his staff will brief the Jefferson County Board of Education Wednesday morning on how remote learning has been working and the impact it is having on the budget.

"What do we do with fees like lunch fees or bus fees or athletic fees or services families paid for that they're not necessarily getting?" Glass said. 

Tsavo said, overall, he is happy with how remote learning has been working for him.

"I’ve had like no problems. I’ve been able to do all my work and nothing has gone crazy so," Tsavo said. "It’s actually been going pretty smooth."

 The superintendent says he is proud of how JeffCo staff, students, and families have made the adjustment under the COVID-19 pandemic.

"None of these elements are really surprises," Glass said. "What has become difficult was the implementation of them at scale."

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