SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The COVID-19 pandemic put a massive strain on schools across the country. As the Ozarks area moves toward normalcy, Ozarks First brings you an entire day of education coverage titled “Learning Curve.”

Ozarks First Meteorologist Natalie Nunn hosted a panel of parents and students to talk about the challenges and triumphs of the past year.

The panel:

  • Armando Johnson- Parent and teacher at Central High School
  • Sarah Hough- Parent of two virtual students At Pleasant View Elementary
  • Kirsten Spilde- Virtual student at Glendale High School
  • Macee McAtee- Student at Fair Grove High School
  • Christina Snitker- Parent and teacher at Fair Grove Elementary

Natalie asked the panel several questions about positive changes from the past year, how students behind in education can catch up, mental health, and several other topics.

“One thing I’ve loved that our school has done, I know a lot of schools already did this, but we didn’t have Chromebooks for each student, so that’s actually been so helpful, you know having 24/7 access to the internet, google docs, google classroom, that’s been really helpful. And so moving forward, it would be awesome if we got to keep them,” said McAtee.

Johnson said during the discussion that, as a teacher, he had to change his thinking when the Fall semester began to help students who were behind.

“I just accepted it, and I thought of it as ‘ this is a new year.’ Like right now, I know we are nowhere we would normally be in my classes. But I accept that, and it just gives me a challenge for next year,” he said.

Hough talked about how her family members had to stay with grandparents during virtual learning and how constant switching could be challenging for teachers.

“I have some family members that they’re virtual, and they go from a set of grandparents certain days, and they go to another set of grandparents another day, and I think the challenging part about that is the communication from teacher to teacher,” said Hough.

Panelists also shared some good memories they have from the past year.