Northeast Ohio school districts have varying success as remote learning begins for students

The Cleveland schools stumble out of the gate and ask parents to have patience as they work through day one problems.
Updated: Sep. 8, 2020 at 10:53 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Certainly, there were day one problems for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as they tried to navigate beginning a school year educating about 37,000 students online, and district CEO Eric Gordon is asking parents to have patience as they work out the issues.

The first problem, according to Gordon, was a big one in that not all of the district’s students were equipped to begin online classes.

“We have about 6,000 students out of our 37,000 that don’t have a device, and those will be deployed Wednesday, Thursday or Friday,” Gordon said.

Of those families who were properly equipped, many experienced difficulties with WIFI hot spots, and many others grew frustrated with login and online classroom access issues.

Gordon said the district will immediately provide increased technical support to those families who had trouble linking into online classrooms, and suggested families who had problems just logging onto their devices to e-mail teachers, who will by Wednesday be equipped with updated student login information.

Some families, Gordon said, are navigating through this technology for the first time.

“I know we have frustrated parents and students, and I am very sorry for that,” Gordon said. “We will move through this and we will keep problem-solving all week.”

Gordon said the majority of this week will be spent on making sure all students have access and parents who do not have a device or are having trouble logging in should not be concerned with their students falling behind because the bulk of the educational content will be started next week.

In Parma, Superintendent Charles Smialek said the hard work put in by teachers this summer paid off and he was pleased with the district’s tech infrastructure.

Google Classroom, Smialek said, had what he understood to be some volume issues and that those issues were not unique to Parma as other districts, he said, reported the same.

“Our principals were answering a lot of phone calls in terms of people wanting to make sure they had the right Google Classroom, the right link, to click on,” Smialek said.

Smialek said it will be a process, and wanted to remind parents that tech help is available through the school’s tech line or on the Parma district website.

“For the most part it was a very different first day of school but one we think has a lot of promise in terms of going forward,” Smialek said.

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