A recent survey conducted by Warren County Schools indicates that local parents believe remote learning is going about as expected.

School System Chief Operations Officer Andre Stewart presented the survey results during the board of education’s Sept. 22 board meeting. 

Warren County students have not been in the classroom since North Carolina schools closed early in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Warren County Schools is utilizing remote learning for the first semester of the 2020-21 school year, which will end on Dec. 12.

According to the school system, the survey drew 313 responses, representing 600 children, or one-third of Warren County Schools’ total student population. The school system and board of education were pleased that parents of children at all grade levels completed the survey.

A closer look at the survey responses follows:

Q: Overall, how is remote learning going for your child?

A: Much better than expected, 26.20 percent; about what was expected, 32.59 percent; not as good as expected, 30.03 percent; much worse than expected, 11.18 percent.

Comments ranged from remote learning going great to technical problems. Other parents said that it is hard because they have children following multiple schedules, and others mentioned difficulty managing the learning schedule with their work schedules. Some preferred instructional packets.

Q: Overall, how is remote learning going for you as a parent?

A: Much better than expected, 19.81 percent; about what was expected, 35.14 percent; not as good as expected, 28.12 percent; much worse than expected, 16.93 percent.

Parents again mentioned technical problems and difficulty in balancing learning schedules with their work schedules. Some listed having trouble explaining lessons to their children or trying to help multiple children at one time.

Q: How would you describe your stress level in your home related to remote learning?

A: Much better than expected, 16.61 percent; about what was expected, 40.26 percent; not as good as expected, 21.41 percent; much worse than expected, 21.73 percent.

Some parents said that teachers and other school system personnel have provided good support, while others reported a high level of stress. Technical issues were among the problems listed, and some parents indicated that they did not know much about computers.

Q: In regard to academic screen time for your child, do you think it has been…

A: Too much screen time, 30.67 percent; just the right amount of screen time, 60.38 percent; too little screen time, 8.95 percent.

A number of parents again praised teachers for providing assistance and breaks between lessons. Others noted that it was difficult for their children to maintain their focus for all sessions.

Q: Overall, I feel that my child is being given (fill in the blank) amount of schoolwork via remote learning.

A: Too much, 24.60 percent; just the right amount, 67.41 percent; too little, 7.99 percent.

Common responses indicated that the amount of screen time that children need depends upon the their grade level. Technical glitches continued to be mentioned.

Q: Including live Google Meet/Zoom sessions, I would estimate my child is doing school work for (fill in the blank) hours a day.

A: Less than one hour, 3.51 percent; one to two hours, 8.95 percent; two to three hours, 11.50 percent; three to four hours, 32.91 percent; more than four hours, 32.13 percent.

A number of parents said that they included homework time in their total count. Some requested more Google Meet/Zoom sessions, while others said that their children spent too much time sitting and not moving.

Q: Assigned work has been clearly explained and is easy for my child to follow.

A: Strongly agree, 15.34 percent; agree, 50.48 percent; disagree, 24.28 percent; strongly disagree, 9.90 percent. 

Comments ranged from stating that teachers are doing a great job to indicating that instructions are not clear or are changed after the class.

Q: There has been a change in my child’s behavior since we started remote learning?

A: Positive change, 17.89 percent; negative change, 20.77 percent; no change, 61.34 percent.

Some parents reported that their children are less focused or become frustrated if they don’t understand a topic or run into technical glitches.

Q: My child has been challenged academically with the assignments and live sessions.

A: Strongly agree, 19.17 percent; agree, 55.59 percent; disagree, 20.77 percent; strongly disagree, 4.47 percent.

Some parents called for more accountability in making sure that students are taking classes and turning in work on time. Others said that their children are sometimes distracted by siblings.

Q: What level of parental assistance does your child need to complete assignments?

A: No help, 15.97 percent; some help, 60.06 percent; help with everything, 23.96 percent.

Parent comments indicated that younger students needed more help than older students. Some noted that their children will need help in certain subjects, such as algebra and geometry, as well as college classes.

Q: How many hours a day does your child spend alone without a parent/guardian?

A: Less than one hour, 56.55 percent; one to two hours, 10.54 percent; two to three hours, 5.11 percent; three to four hours, 7.67 percent; more than four hours, 20.13 percent. 

Many parents/guardians said that if they could not be with their children, another family member stepped in to watch over them.

Q: For parents of middle and high school students: How comfortable are you allowing your child to start sports workouts?

A: Very comfortable, 11.82 percent; somewhat comfortable, 14.70 percent; not comfortable, but will consider it, 16.29 percent; I will not allow my child to participate, 18.85 percent; I do not have a child in the middle grades or high school, 38.34 percent.

Some parents indicated that they were looking forward to having workouts resumed. Others said that workouts would be fine with certain precautions, such as social distancing. Some parents said that they worried about their children’s safety.

Stewart told the board that the parent survey will help Warren County Schools in its ongoing efforts to identify and resolve technical and other problems that families are facing. He noted that the school system will conduct additional surveys to see what problems have been resolved and which ones need more work.