Rock Hill officially starts school, parents voice online learning concerns

Students run into issues on first day back to school in Rock Hill

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Rock Hill School District says it was pretty much smooth sailing all day for learners as students came back for the first time in 177 days, according to a district spokesperson.

In the week before Tuesday, kindergarten through eighth grade students came for state mandated LEAP days. Those days were filled with testing to know students are on the right track after months of at home learning.

Something that is new this year - Rock Hill’s COVID-19 dashboard. Like SCDHEC’s recent COVID-19 in schools dashboard rollout, the district will give parents, students and staff a picture of the virus in the schools. What is different - Rock Hill will update the dashboard every day and it will include those quarantining, too.

“We believe that that’s the right thing to do to allow our families in the community, and just the community at large, to see our efforts to not just improve but to maintain safety in this odd time is working or not working," says Mychal Frost, district public information officer.

It was not as smooth sailing for some virtual learners, though. There were the typical first day problems - connection issues, zoom links not working and computers updating during class. However, parents have complained about issues they feel go much deeper.

“Where do we go? What do we do? I’m a little bit apprehensive now," questions April Jordan, mom of three virtual learners.

April Jordan had to choose Rock Hill Virtual Schooling. Her daughter’s autoimmune disease leaves no room for mistakes, but she says the road to online learning has been paved with problems.

“I’ve gotten a little bit stressed because I haven’t gotten any contact from the teachers," says Jordan.

Jordan says she did not know her middle school aged son’s schedule until the day before school. Tuesday morning, the family was missing zoom links for classes and information from the district. The day started as a toss-up.

“We’ll just do what we can, you know?" she says. "That’s basically all we can do.”

Frost addressed these problems. He says virtual staff worked to get more than 6,700 students scheduled, assignments, contact information for teachers and students and much more.

“Our virtual staff has been working around the clock," says Frost. “This is new. This is new for our staff this is new for us. We basically created a school for 6700 students. While we aim to get it right the first try there are going to be hiccups.”

Frost asks parents to make sure contact information is correct, so correspondence comes quicker. With the district still learning, he asks for some grace. Above all, he says reach out for your student.

“This year is different," he explains. "That’s the understatement of the day and we ask for patience and understanding.”

It is exactly what Jordan is continuing to give regardless of the tough time.

“They’re doing the best they can with the situation. I totally get it," she says.

Other problems, according to parents, include students coming into the class and yelling cuss words. Also poor internet connections where students cannot hear or see the teachers.

Frost says several call centers for virtual learners were created to help.

From Rock Hill Schools:

  • For general technology help, students and parents may call 803-324-8324 (TECH).
  • Virtual Students only: need help today logging into class? Call 803-324-7478 (RHSV).

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