First day of online learning in MN presents challenges but keeps kids safe

I’ve been holding onto this article since Tuesday – a recap from MinnPost on how different schools are doing with online learning in Minnesota during coronavirus threat. I’m going to include snippets based on location:

From Bemidji

‘Just one laptop at home’: Alicia Bowstring, student at Bemidji State University, and mother of a first-grader in the Cass Lake-Bena Schools district

And a popular sentiment…

no one will be docked as they — along with K-12 students statewide — troubleshoot with new technology on day one of remote learning.

From Bloomington

“That’s where this becomes challenging,” she said, noting the at-home school day was fairly hands-on for her and her husband, who are both adjusting to working remotely from home right now. “The kids know how to use Seesaw fairly well, but there’s definitely parent engagement — to upload, help them record, take pictures.”

And right around 10 a.m., when they were uploading the three questions Elijah had written, the site crashed and he lost his work — prompting a mini life-skill lesson on perseverance.

From Roseville

She says that while some degree of learning took place Monday, her mission was purely to reconnect with her students, and to allow them space to connect with each other — a much-needed return to some semblance of normalcy for many, after a stretch of no school, followed by a spring break.

She’s also being mindful of students’ lack of access to technology at home. …

“I was sad to see only my white families came on today. My students of color were not able to,” she said of the Google Meet session she hosted online.

From Minneapolis

“There’s multiple siblings in the family — all using one parent’s cellphone,” she [the teacher] said. “So there’s a lot of interruptions and phone dying and siblings coming in to ask when she’s going to be done with the phone.”

As a new parent to a 4-month-old, she’s also learning how to juggle at-home child care as she checks in with her students. For part of Monday, that meant holding her child in one arm, while he napped, and working on her computer with her free hand.

From Brooklyn Park

“I [mom who is also a teacher] chose to keep everyone together at the dining room table, so that if there’s issues I can walk around and help answer questions,” she said, adding “the older girls can help with the boys as well.” …

For her, the biggest source of concern heading into Monday was wondering how to best support her youngest son’s speech progress without access to his speech therapist at school. In the morning, his teachers reached out with some guidance and learning tools.

From Anoka-Hennepin…

Her seventh-grader logged into his device and had completed all of his classes in less than an hour, she says. Her ninth-grade son, who’s taking lots of advanced classes, worked until about 1 p.m., with a family break for lunch and a walk outside.

While the boys largely worked independently, Haglund spent the better part of her day alongside her other ninth-grader, Elaina, who has Williams syndrome and normally receives a number of specialized supports at school — things like physical therapy and speech services.

My youngest daughter goes to a charter school is St Paul. She normally loves school. Her description of online school – it’s all of the homework, none of the fun.

This entry was posted in education, MN and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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