Parents and students see a rocky start on first day of online learning in Aiken County

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:27 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Nearly 7,000 Aiken County students are choosing to skip in-person classes altogether. About 30 percent of students are learning from home full-time.

Some parents say it’s been a bit of a rocky transition already.

It may not feel the same as walking into school, but there are still first day jitters at home – both for students and parents.

“We didn’t get her books until a couple of days ago, and we didn’t know who her teacher was until Friday,” Kim Dalich, an Aiken County parent, said.

Dalich and her 6-year-old Madison say overall, learning from home has been a bit crazy. But her first day of Aiken Innovate was smooth.

Other than some early login issues, they were able to hop on Microsoft Teams and join the class.

“This is all new for everybody. So, I think they probably did the best that they could, and this is just how it happened,” Dalich said.

“There’s just a whole thread of, ’I need help. We are lost. We can’t get in. Where’s our login information?’” John Irvine, another Aiken County parent, said.

For Irvine, it was a morning of questions. But he says the teachers hopped on a video chat quickly to help his 13-year-old, Jack.

Aiken County school officials say the new system isn’t going to be perfect the first day. So, to help, they held a question and answer session last week for everyone to get information.

They are responding to concerns via Facebook as well.

“It’s going to take a little time. We ask that everyone be patient with each other. Parents, be patient with us, and our teachers, be patient with parents,” King Laurence, Aiken County Schools superintendent, said.

Laurence says he sat down with a parent himself on Friday to sort out some login issues.

“There were a few little frustrating things, but we were able to work through those,” he said.

Yes -- there have been delays. But the message for learning online is the same as if students were in-person: everyone has to work together.

Aiken County says there will be leeway for students struggling with the technology early on. School officials say they’ve been answering phone calls nonstop during this first day back.

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