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Estill County teachers navigating remote learning as school begins

Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 18:17:43-04

IRVINE, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's day two for Estill County Schools, but the hallways look the same as a teacher in-service day.

Every classroom has a teacher, but there are no students.

"Something that we look forward to as teachers is seeing our kids that first day of school. Knowing that they've had a good summer, that they're's been very different," said second grade teacher Kristin Richardson.

Throughout the day, in some cases long after 3:00, teachers are checking in with families online and on the phone.

Since the kids at Estill Springs Elementary range from Kindergarten through second grade, communication with adults at home is key.

"Our goal is to find that mode of communication that works best for the families, and a lot of that also involves what time is best to communicate with those families," said principal Jessica Mullins.

In between phone calls, emails, messages, and home visits, teachers are working on the next week's packets to send to families on Friday.

"So that way they'll be able to practice letters, letter sounds and things. Stuff we'd use in the room, but we can't because we're not in the room right now," said teacher Katie Parker.

Kindergarten teacher Katie Parker, who has four of her own kids at home, says the challenge for her class will be learning some simple skills.

"How to hold a pencil. How to hold scissors. That's really hard to do virtually," said Parker.

But she's collaborating with her team to find the best ways to help students learn and stay engaged.

Mullins says Estill County Schools will be remote-only until the end of September. She hopes they can begin some in-person learning by September 28, but that will depend on the spread of COVID-19 at that point and the governor's recommendation.