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Kingman schools turn to distance learning during COVID-19 pandemic

A number of Kingman-area students are adjusting to distance learning during the pandemic. (Miner file photo)

A number of Kingman-area students are adjusting to distance learning during the pandemic. (Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – The school closures in Kingman and the surrounding areas have a direct impact on everyday life, but it’s important that students are still educated and in a manner that’s beneficial for them. Kingman Unified School District, Kingman Academy of Learning and Emmanuel Christian Academy are well aware of that fact and have taken steps to ensure learning continues during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is the first time in history that we’ve called every family in our district in a span of a couple of days,” KUSD Superintendent Gretchen Dorner said. “It’s done a lot to bridge the home-school connection and to have one-on-one conversations with our families to ease their fears, to find out what their concerns are and to learn what resources they’re lacking. And to customize what we’re doing so that we can reduce their anxiety.”

And to that aim, KUSD is offering both online and paper curriculum starting Monday, March 30.

So far, Dorner said the interest is right down the middle, if not leaning towards paper schoolwork.

The district is taking the situation seriously, and is prepared if school doesn’t resume by the current closure of April 10. Area students last attended school on March 12.

“We’ve got the baseline plans pretty much ready for kindergarten through eighth grade for the next 6-8 weeks,” Dorner said. “We want it all done now, but then we’ll hand it out a week at a time.”

The plan for high schools is a little different. At Kingman and Lee Williams high schools, each teacher is planning their coursework just like they were in school, only modifying it for distance learning.

“The high school piece is a pretty big animal to tackle,” Dorner said.

Some students don’t have the choice between online and paper coursework because they don’t have internet access at home. Suddenlink is trying to help by offering students a 60-day free trial. More information is available at https://www.alticeadvantageinternet.com or 1-888-633-0030.

Meanwhile, KAOL is already ahead of the curve. The schools started distance learning March 16 and Susan Chan, Kingman Academy of Learning’s executive director, said they’ve also followed up to make sure it’s going smoothly.

“We had our teachers make contact with families this week to find out if they needed anything from us and if they’re able to access their lessons,” Chan said Tuesday. “We provided both the online format and the packet pick-ups they can come and get. And we did actually have a lot of people coming to the schools to get packets for their children. So that’s good.”

Chan added that a majority of the students prefer online learning, but each school principal has teachers reaching out to a certain list of students to make sure they’re adjusting to the transition.

“They’re doing that and we’re working on preparing material for the next two weeks,” Chan said.

However, it hasn’t been the easiest situation, as teachers need to make changes to their everyday routines.

“They’re having to answer emails throughout the day when they’re at home,” Chan said. “They come to school and they pick up things they need to work on to prepare more lessons.”

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Christian’s plan involves parents picking up packets and teachers posting daily instructional videos on YouTube. Teachers will also be available by phone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week if there are questions regarding the daily assignments.

The school detailed the plan in a letter that was also posted on Facebook and it initially only covered the week of March 23-26. However, the same plan will remain in effect until school resumes.

If the school closure continues past March 26, Emmanuel Christian parents and guardians will be expected to put the week’s completed assignments in the envelope provided and return it to the school office between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays, when they will also pick up the next week’s packet of assignments.

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