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“Early cup of wine ordeal” – Area parents share school-closure adjustments

It’s been more than a month of practicing distant, homebound learning, and while many students are adjusting to the new schedule, their parents are experiencing mixed emotions.

Jane Cochrane Avila, a former Nederland Independent School District elementary teacher and grandmother to fifth grader John Avila, said she believes the district is doing a good job under trying circumstances.

“Many of the teachers are learning right along with us on how to use the technology,” she said. “I’m a retired teacher and I’m glad I’m retired. It has been hard enough dealing with it as the person responsible for only one fifth grader and no job. It took me four weeks to really get into the online Google classroom, but once we got the help we needed and the training I needed, we’ve been running pretty smoothly.”

Leticia Zuñiga, a mom of two, said she definitely agrees with the closure as her children often get sick while in school.

“My heart does hurt for those who will miss out on the many events they were looking forward to,” she said. “As for the distance learning, it’s been a hair puller, early cup of wine ordeal, but we are slowly figuring it out.”

Zuñiga’s children attend Helena Park Elementary and Nederland High School.

“I know NISD, teachers and staff are doing everything they can,” she said. “We definitely found a whole new appreciation for our teachers and everyone on the front line. God bless them all.”

While everyone is learning the new system together, Clay Kilpatrick said he’d like to make one suggestion to allow alternative work.

Kilpatrick’s son attends third grade at Highland Park Elementary.

“I signed my son up with an online curriculum that’s amazing and he loves it,” he said. “Full video instruction along with text reading for whichever way works best for the student to learn. If the school district was able to accept alternative sources of learning, then that would be amazing for parents and students.”

Misty Duval’s three children attend Port Neches-Groves ISD. She believes the state made the right call in slowing the spread of the virus throughout school campuses.

“I have to say that the district has gone above and beyond with the transition to at-home learning,” she said. “They have far exceeded my expectations of them. Only thing I don’t agree with is that they aren’t being given grades for the work they are doing and turning in.”

Angie Tonche, whose oldest daughter is a senior at PNG High School, has mixed feelings on the matter.

“I know it’s for their safety, but if the businesses are going to be opened then really it might not be too bad for the kids to be able to go to school,” she said. “I have a senior that really wants to graduate.”

Port Arthur resident Cindy Gonzalez has a freshman at Memorial High School and a fifth-grader at Sam Houston Elementary.

She understands teachers and staff are doing the best they can.

“It’s temporary, and we have to take into consideration that teachers have their own children at home as well,” she said. “I’m not too mad with the decision to close school. I know everyone is doing the best they can, and when we have questions, they keep us updated. All this shall pass.”

Gonzalez’s only concern is organization.

“I did have some concerns on the online applications for the kids,” she said. “My daughter has Google classroom, and it is a little more organized as regards to just going to the website or application. I do wish it was a little more organized, but other than that, our teachers have been awesome. They reply fast and help when they can.”