As Tri-State school districts start the new school year, COVID-19 is presenting new challenges for teachers, parents, and students.
One group that's hit especially hard is students in special education.
Teachers at the Palmyra School District said they usually require a more hands-on approach to learning, which can be difficult when taking classes virtually.
They said students had trouble paying attention to the virtual classes and the online format made it hard for students to interact with teachers and therapists.
“I think it’s hard to keep their focus for the full amount of time," Kinsey Cissna, Special Education Director said. "Sometimes with our speech or our OT and PT related services it may be a challenge during that zoom time because we’re not in person. A physical therapist may be asking a student to perform an exercise and you have that barrier of the screen.
The new plan in place is called “Form G."
It was created by teachers with the help of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
It lays out a groundwork for what virtual classes will look like for those students in special education.
“Our special education teachers work with other teachers and work with parents to work through ‘okay what was the previous experience with the closure like last spring and what are their needs, their priorities,” Cissna said.
Teachers said if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, they may be forced to move back to online learning and fear the same challenges will come up again. They hope this new plan will help to bridge those gaps.