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Green Bay teacher addresses her concerns with virtual learning

Discussing the challenges of virtual learning
Posted at 9:41 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 22:42:02-04

GREEN BAY, Wis (NBC 26) -- The discussion over whether or not some schools should re-open for in-person class continues tonight across northeast Wisconsin. On Monday night at the Green Bay Area Public School District's Board of Education meeting, a teacher from the district addressed, in the form of a letter, how Green Bay remains online-only.

Jennifer Beno, who was addressed during Monday night's meeting as the author of a letter to the school board, claimed that families including her own, "will not and cannot tolerate this type of education any longer." The letter was read at the Monday night meeting.

After two weeks of an online-only school for Green Bay students, a second-grade teacher from the district wrote a letter to the school board.

"I am writing to you today as a teacher of the district as well as a parent of three Green Bay students."

Her letter continues describing what she claims to have experienced with the online experience Green Bay students are currently tackling.

"Virtual education is creating more mental health trauma to our students and families than a virus ever could."

Beno says she has noticed that above-average students are doing okay in the virtual learning environment, but average and below-average students are getting almost nothing from this type of teaching.

"Students are the most disengaged students I have ever seen. Students have already learned how to turn off their cameras or take off their headphones and just walk away from the screen..... It is not getting better each day, it's becoming worse."

NBC26 tried to bring these concerns to Green Bay's Superintendent and also address them with Beno, but no one was made available. We did talk with Eric Vanden Heuvel though, the President of the Board of Education for the GBAPSD.

"Anytime you're going through that kind of system changes there is going to be bumps in the road. I don't know if I've heard from anybody who said this is amazing, this is my preferred way of learning or working."

Vanden Heuvel says since April the GBAPSD Board of Education has been discussing how they can get back to in-person learning. But with so many challenges, involved with the spread of COVID-19 and keeping students and staff healthy, the district still grapples with unique challenges that are being presented related to the difficulties of students learning at home.

"It's incredibly complex. No two students are the same. We're interested in doing everything we can to meet every possible need... we know we are not hitting all of our standards that we would if we were in an in-person model and we're continually growing, improving, and adapting to strive for that high standard that we set for ourselves."

Vanden Heuvel adds the Green Bay Area School District's Board of Education plans on discussing the potential of a hybrid learning model for the district at their upcoming meeting.