22 THE QUEENS COURIER • MARСH 26, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
‘I miss school’: How students are coping with
remote learning during coronavirus pandemic
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
“In my opinion, I think that this is very
annoying and I think people will agree,”
A. Falcon, a fi ft h-grader at P.S. 290Q in
Ridgewood, said about New York City’s
public schools shutting down as a result
of the coronavirus outbreak.
For Falcon — whose mother requested
her son’s full name not be used — and
many of the 1.1 million students in NYC’s
school system — the largest school system
in the country — the city’s decision
to close schools was an abrupt, but necessary
measure to stop the spread of the
“For many people, school is really
fun. You get to meet new friends and
goof around at recess aft er learning new
things,” Falcon told QNS. “And for teachers,
they get to pass down knowledge to
their students. Not only is there math and
ELA, but also specials like P.E., science,
art and music! But then it came along to
Th e decision to close schools wasn’t an
easy or quick one. Mayor Bill de Blasio
and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza
received pushback from many parents,
educators and fellow elected offi cials who
felt that schools should’ve closed much
Jamie Altamirano, a ninth-grader at
Brooklyn Technical High School who
aspires to work in the medical fi eld, feared
for her classmates and their families.
“I was worried about the disease spreading
throughout all of the public schools
because although the death rate was low,
the more people who get it, the more will
die,” Altamirano said. “I was especially
worried for those who have family members
with compromised health because if
the children carried it home it would put
those family members at risk.”
Although schools are closed until
Monday, April 20, students still have
about three months left of classes. De
Blasio recently said there’s a good chance
schools won’t open again for the rest of
the school year.
As a result, a whole new way of learning
and teaching had to take place —
remote learning. In anticipation of the city
announcing schools would close, many
schools throughout the city began to prepare
by creating packets and homework
for students to take home.
Th e Department of Education (DOE)
then gave teachers a week to train for
virtual education, where many teachers,
some of which never used online tools,
got familiar with resources like Google
Classroom and Zoom. Remote learning
offi cially kicked off on March 23.
“I feel sad I cannot see my friends,”
said Jordan Turkoglu, a fi rst-grader at P.S.
290Q. “I have some school work but it’s
not a lot and I feel sad I cannot see my
teacher. I’m happy because I saw some of
my friends on video yesterday. I do want
to play with my friends but now I cannot.”
Adrianna Tolentino, a seventh-grader
at I.S. 126Q in Long Island City, said she
enjoyed her fi rst day of remote learning.
“It’s not too stressful and you can work
at your own pace without the teacher
going too fast during the lesson,” she said.
“But I had many questions about my work
and the teacher can’t answer the questions
right away, so that wastes time and the
students might end up doing the assignment
wrong if they don’t get it either.”
Amin Malik, a second-grader at P.S.
84Q in Astoria, said he feels confi dent
about remote learning.
“Yesterday we learned about money in
my math class, and it was helpful because
there were videos that helped me understand.
It was fun to see comments from my
friends on the computer,” Malik said. “But
I miss school because there are a lot of fun
activities like gym, and you get to make a
lot of friends. I didn’t do my music class yet
on my computer and I hope it will be like
class at school where we get to learn about
diff erent singers. I miss hearing my music
teacher, Miss Schwab, play the piano.”
But these students all have access to
WiFi and devices at home, meaning they
have two fewer things to worry about.
Carranza said they estimate about
300,000 students don’t have devices. Th e
DOE distributed 25,000 iPads to students
who need it the most, and there are companies
off ering free internet deals — but
there’s still a big disparity between students
who have the resources they need
and those who don’t.
Jacob Altamirano, a fi ft h-grader at
P.S. 290Q, is worried about the services
some students will miss due to the shutdown,
such as counseling, physical therapy,
Special Education Teacher Support
Services (SETTS) and Individualized
Education Program (IEPs).
“Our speech and SETTS are very
important for us to continue to develop
and do well in school. I hope and wish
that me and my friends can continue to
see our very important teachers, even if it
is online, so we can continue to learn and
grow,” Altamirano said.
Aft er he told his counselor at P.S. 290Q
that he’ll miss their sessions, his counselor
set up a video call once a week.
“But children in my school building
have multiple disabilities and can’t do
remote learning,” he added. “What will
happen to my friends?”
In a press conference on March 23,
Carranza said that the DOE is still developing
the remote learning model, and all
schools have had to develop their own
way of dealing with the change. He asked
the school community for “fl exibility and
Jordan Leon, an eighth-grader at P.S.
87Q in Middle Village, prefers to see the
positives that have come from coronavirus,
like less in-school bullying.
“It’s also great for the school community
because it’s bringing families together,”
Leon said. “Teachers, staff members and
students get to go home with their families
and enjoy this time off as well. It’s
a positive thing because families get to
spend more time together.”