One distance-learning family wants better communication from RCAS

Their son woke up on his first day without a teacher.
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 8:35 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Rapid City Area Schools started classes Tuesday. But one distance-learning parent is already feeling the stress of the school year.

“We faced a difficult choice, whether to send our kids back or not, as everybody else did,” said April Akres, distance-learning mom.

Families within the Rapid City Area School District had to decide by Aug. 19 whether it was going to do distance-learning or in-person learning. That gave the school district two weeks to find enough teachers to teach over 2,000 distance-learners."

One family opting for distance-learning wishes RCAS had communicated their potential teacher shortage before families made their choice. Her son woke up on his first day without a teacher.

“I got that message from our principal that said that the distance-learners don’t have a teacher and to please be patient, work with them, but I feel like we’ve been patient enough,” said Akres.

“Last week, all of our principals, sent out communication to all of our families that basically said here’s what’s going on and here’s what to expect and so by the end of this week, every student will know who their teacher is, they’ll know how to log in, that will be established and then they will be able to start on the Sept. 14,” said Katy Urban, RCAS Community Relations Manager.

Akres’s first-grade son was able to access practice links this morning, but in terms of an actual class, they were told to wait and keep checking day by day.

“We just have to open class dojo every day and wait to have a teacher, that’s what the email said,” said Akres. “It sounds to me like they don’t know what’s going on as much as we don’t know what’s going on.”

Akres is hopeful for more open communication as the year progresses but is concerned for her son.

“It makes me extremely nervous, my worst fear is for my child to fall behind and at this point, if he did, it’s kind of my fault, I’m the teacher now,” said Akres.

RCAS has over 2,000 distance-learners this fall, and Urban isn’t concerned about those students officially starting a week later.

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