Parents with special needs kids say virtual learning doesn’t work for them

It's been a week into two weeks of asynchronous learning for Bibb County School District students, and some parents say it doesn't work for their children.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT ) — It’s been a week into two weeks of asynchronous learning for Bibb County School District students, and some parents say it doesn’t work for their children.

Jayme Swain’s son has special needs that require an Individualized Education Program, also known as an IEP. She says her son’s class only has two other students and two teachers and that it would be better for children with IEPs to do in-person learning.

“I feel like that’s a very good ratio to be safe and to be able to get what he needs,” Swain said.

Hayden Gray has a son with special needs on an IED at Sonny Carter Elementary School. He wants kids with IEPs to go back to in-person learning too. He says his son does not do well with asynchronous or virtual learning.

“It was an absolute nightmare,” he said. “He was trying to slap his iPad out of my hands, wanted nothing to do with the lesson. It does not work for him.”

We reached out to the Bibb County School District leaders for an interview about these issues, but no one was available. The district did release this statement:

“During the current surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bibb County School District is working to ensure the education and safety of all staff and students.

The Program for Exceptional Children (PEC) has a distance learning plan in place for all students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). These plans outline how the staff will support the students during temporary school closures and were created with collaboration by the student’s IEP Team. During this temporary school closure, the PEC staff is holding live online sessions throughout the day to support students’ progress toward the IEP goals. These live sessions include any therapy sessions the students would receive in person, such as speech therapy. Our teachers also are using a virtual platform called Remind to provide additional support to families as needed.

Contingencies have been developed to support children and families with limited ability to access live online sessions, such as learning packets and activity-based learning for additional support during this time.

The District is diligently monitoring the COVID-19 numbers and is in communication with local health officials. The District’s goal is to have all students return to in-person learning as soon as safely possible.”

-Jennifer Donnelly, Executive Director of the Bibb County School District’s Program for Exceptional Children

The Bibb County School District returns to in person learning on Monday, September 20, but the district has planned asynchronous learning days on October 18 and November 29.

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