NORTHAMPTON — With Massachusetts schools closed through at least April 7 as part of a state effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, school districts are adjusting to a remote learning experience.
School officials interviewed by the Gazette say that while virtual education has its limits, learning over the next few weeks will ideally keep students engaged and provide a sense of normalcy during turbulent times.
“There’s no way that we can replicate the full experience of the school day online,” said Northampton Superintendent John Provost. But, he added, “we’re doing the best we can to provide students with the best learning opportunities we can provide, even without having the availability of students and teachers in the same classroom.”
Means of learning have varied by school, according to the district’s Digital Literacy and Computer Science Coordinator Molly McLoughlin. The elementary schools primarily are using physical packets of prepared materials, though digital options are also available. Meanwhile, students in grades six and up each have a Chromebook to assist with digital learning. The district also has a stock of Wi-Fi hotspot devices and is working to acquire more of these devices for students who do not have internet access at home.