APS working to supply 6,000 students with virtual learning equipment amid coronavirus

ATLANTA — Kristin Lee is the type of mother who always thought homeschooling her children could be cool.

Lee thought it would give her more time to spend with her 8-year-old daughter Addison and maybe she’d have more control of what her daughter was learning.

She never thought she’d actually have a chance to do it until coronavirus shut down her daughter’s school -- Hope Hill Elementary in Atlanta – along with every other school across the state.

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“I also recognized it’s a lot to still be working and be at home with your kid. So, I think if it were one or the other it could be a lot better. I went into it with maybe some unrealistic expectations about how much time we would have,” Lee said. “Some days I’m guilty of sitting in front of the computer all day for work stuff and not taking the much-needed breaks that I need to and in that sense. Sometimes I feel like Addison suffers a little bit because I’m not able to be as attentive."

Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes spoke to some other parents who shared the same feeling as Lee and they’re just not sure if they’re challenging their children enough and spring break didn’t help matter.

“What do you think is the biggest challenge?” Fernandes asked Lee.


“Getting her back into school mode because she was like, ‘Mommy, spring break is supposed to be fun.’ Because of course they did upload some things for them to do during spring break and I encouraged her to do them, but of course if she doesn’t have to and if it’s not graded, then she’s not going to do it,” Lee said.

But not all families are putting in the same amount of effort to make sure Atlanta Public Schools students don’t fall behind.

“Now there are some who, you know, haven’t been on top of it and we know who some of those parents are and the superintendent will go visit homes and we’ll all have a conversation about what it means to be doing virtual learning – but what we often find is that the kid either doesn’t have the technology, or they don’t have the connectivity,” said Dr. Meria Carstarphen, APS superintendent.

When schools first closed in March, APS handed out nearly 10,000 devices -- whether it was laptops or access to Wi-Fi. Just during spring break, they rushed out 500 more. But 6,000 students still aren't connected.

That’s why district officials started a campaign with Comcast called Keep Kids Connected.

“You’re able as a private provider, or donor, or ‘Phil can actually donate $300,’ and the kid gets a laptop for life. They can keep the laptop and they can have free access to free Comcast Xfinty for a year, so then you’re not depending on the parent, them paying their bills or you know having to deal with their services or their credit history that sometimes gets in the way of families getting the connectivity for their children. So, I like the idea of really separating the parent issue from the kids being able to get their education,” Carstarphen said.

To learn more about the Keep Kids Connected program, CLICK HERE.