Internet, child care emerge as stumbling blocks as back-to-school season gets underway

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 11:34 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - At the Allan household in Henry County, school is back in session. Class size: three.

“Two in pre-K and one in third,” said mom Leigh Allan.

With Henry County starting all-online, it’s fallen to her to stand by, and help guide her kids through their virtual classes.

“I have set right by him for some of the lessons, just to be sure he stays on task,” she said.

It’s a challenge, but Allan says it’s been going well so far.

“Yeah, we were ready for it,” she says.

But the Allan household may well be a best-case scenario. Their internet is good, and Leigh is able to stay home full time.

“My husband works two jobs to make it work for us, but that’s what we were doing before the pandemic,” she said.

As schools across our region have been starting back, WDBJ7 has been checking in with parents to see what’s working, and what isn’t. Many parents we spoke with have reported struggling to find the time to supervise their kids’ learning, and in many areas, getting access to high-speed internet is difficult.

That’s definitely the case for the Vance family in Carroll County.

“The internet really sucks here,” said Kristy Lee Vance, a mom who lives in the Fries area. “We’ve been traveling to my boyfriend’s house so that they can have access to the internet.”

According to Vance, that can mean an hour and a half in the car all three days her kids are learning virtually.

For kids Hattie and James, it’s been a mixed bag, with both saying school this year is definitely “different.”

It works for Hattie; James, not so much.

“They only give us a little bit of work,” he said, “except for one of my classes.”

With another three and a half months to go before Christmas break, both the Vances and the Allans say school in 2020 is a challenge they’ll have to push through, day by day.

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