Coronavirus Outbreak: Bay Area schools shift to at-home classes after COVID-19 shutdown

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Because of the novel coronavirus shelter-in-place order in the Bay Area, the way we teach our children has changed. They're learning at home... and many times, online.

School still starts at 8:20 a.m., but 13-year-old seventh-grader Ryan DeLusque doesn't have to leave home. This is the start of week two of distance learning on his Chromebook.

Teachers at Summit Public Charter Schools say they are covering the same material with the same depth as they would in the classroom. But there's less social interaction.

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"I feel that I can still learn, still have the connection with my friends," said Ryan. "Of course, since we're on lockdown, I won't be able to see them as much, but in some classes, I can still see them."

Ryan and his older sister, Riley, started out at the kitchen table so their mother could monitor their progress. It has gone so well that each now connects to class from their own rooms, free from distractions.

Riley, who's in ninth grade, says distance learning is keeping things as normal as possible, despite having to stay at home.

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"One of my subjects is art, so of course there are some limitations when it comes to studying and practicing, but we're still able to upload videos, and we're able to call the teacher if we have any questions," said Riley, who's in ninth grade.

Seventh grade math teacher Tina Wan says she has to think visually as she prepares her lessons for her students. She also has to make an effort to engage her students. She can click through the screens of different students but only five or six of them at a time.

"I have to make sure that every child is seen and heard so we make sure that each child is called on, but I do miss having that interaction when students are able to hear one another when they're working," said Ms. Wan.

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Ryan says he spends about two to three hours a day on the computer and an equal amount of time working by himself. Independent learning is part of the model at Summit Schools.

Ryan and Riley's mom says distance learning seems to be working, even with classmates separated from each other.

"They're still able to collaborate with their teams on their projects and with their teachers, so a lot of collaboration is still going on, which is really not too different from being in school," said Allison DeLusque.

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