BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Bay Waveland School District started its second semester February 2nd. At the beginning of the semester, the district brought all children back into classrooms, ending the option for parents to choose whether they wanted their children to participate in virtual learning.
We spoke with administrators at North Bay Elementary and we’re told only 24 parents of children at the school initially chose remote learning, while around 340 kids preferred in-person learning.
After the virtual learning option expired, officials said that only two students didn’t return to North Bay and instead chose homeschooling. Now, everyone is back in the classroom, with safety procedures enhanced.
North Bay Elementary principal, Crystal Anderson, said that both students and teachers were excited to return to in-person learning.
“All the kids that have come back expressed to me that they’re happy to be back. We tried to do air hugs as much as possible, but most of them were running to us like ‘Oh we’re so excited,’” said Anderson.
Anderson explained that there was a difference in grades from students doing virtual learning compared to in-person learning.
“They were struggling a little bit,” said Anderson. “Face to face is obviously more effective, kids do better in person. We had the means to educate them, the data indicated the kids in person were more successful.”
Anderson said virtual learning is vital for student success.
“You can’t, and this is just from observing, get that personal connection with a person on a screen. Regardless of all the resources in the world when you’re in person with another human being you can make a connection with somebody,” said Anderson, “Teaching math, for example, is hard. I wasn’t good at math, but I had an exceptional teacher who could sit down with me that can go over, and go over, and teach me different tricks. That’s hard to do over the screen.”
Officials said that students must take their temperatures twice a day, and the school also have socially distanced desks. Administrators also said that the school split lunchroom procedures, half of the students in the classroom, while others eat in the lunchroom.
Across the Bay Waveland School District, we’re told 134 students spent the first semester taking their classes through virtual learning.