OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The switch to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light gap in resources. In addition to inequities, remote learning also led to some education gaps.
"Going back to when we first shut down, that’s when we really started to see some equity gaps in our families and by that I mean, the opportunity. We had some families that were able to stay home and support their kids, we had some families that had to work, we had some families that were at home," said Tyler Hottovy, Principal at Westbrook Elementary.
Hottovy began reaching out to community organizations to help with remote learning in order to address those gaps. Hottovy was able to collaborate with Do Space, a technology library.
"We just kind of redirected the resources we have here at the Do Space and we were able to very easily change what we were doing," said Gary Girard, Executive Director of the Continuing Education program at Metropolitan Community College.
Students from Westbrook Elementary, Howard Kennedy Elementary and King Science Middle School were able to use Metro Community College's Do Space and their program for remote learners "Do School," to help with education during the pandemic.
Do School was able to serve as a middle ground that was able to relieve some of those disparities.
"In some cases when students came to the do school it was the first time they were able to log in because they didn’t have internet access and then for others maybe they were experiencing an attendance issue," Girard said.
The program provided structure, fun STEM activities and an opportunity for parents to continue working.
"Having the consistency of her being able to go to a full day program and both of my husband and I being able to work out in the community full time and having a place for her to go to that it’s not just a band aid on the situation but educational learning environment that she’s getting more things than we could provide for her on a regular basis," said Anna Evans, a Westbrook Elementary parent whose daughter attended the Do School.
The program was so helpful that Hottovy is looking to continue the school's relationship with the Do School to further address the educational gaps that resulted from the pandemic and remote learning.
"The impact we’re starting to see learning loss from this pandemic and the shut down and the way we see our data coming back, kids have been most affected so far in the area of math. Gary and I were talking about if we could do some Saturday sessions focused around math, we could do an after school program where kids could come and have a fee safe space to learn after school and that we would provide supplementary math instruction there," Hottovy said.