Some Florence students struggle as pandemic makes for challenging year

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Not much has been ‘normal’ about this school year.

Between the virtual learning, in-person options and everything in between, it’s been a challenge for many students in communities nationwide. That’s also the case in Florence.

“It has been a struggle,” Florence mom Amy Shelton said plainly of the school year.

Her son, Logan, is a sixth grader at Royall Elementary. He’s currently on a hybrd schedule.

He started out on a virtual schedule, though.

“Teacher was calling me constantly- ‘he’s not doing his work, he’s turning off his camera, he’s playing,'” Shelton said. “And working at home myself, I spent more time trying to get him focused.”

Shelton says that Logan is typically on honor roll, but ‘this year he’s not doing well at all,’ she said.

Shelton said it can be tough for students to focus while learning remotely.

“They feel like, ‘hey we’re not in a classroom we’re at home so we can do whatever we want to do,'” she said. “Even though the rules are set not to do that, they’re kids.”

Logan isn’t the only one who’s been having a tough year.

Florence One Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said during last week’s school board meeting that academics have taken a hit this year. He was clear that this was not through the fault of the teachers, who he heavily praised.

He did though share some failure rates, such as algebra 1 at West Florence High. He said 32 percent of virtual students were failing that and 48 percent of their hybrid peers were.

“It’s like bumper cars, they’re all over the place,” Ivy Ingram said.

She’s the co-founder and CEO of 9Owl Educational Solutions, an education consulting business that also offers tutoring based in Florence. 9Owl began virtual tutoring this year in response to the demand.

“We are hearing from parents that are like, ‘hey I need the help,'” Ingram said. “Some of those students that need that social aspect, they tend to be struggling. They need the one-on-one…But they also need the interaction with other students.”

Ingram says services such as tutoring can help to fill in gaps if students are falling behind. She said there are also some other things parents can do if their child is struggling.

“Read articles,” she suggested “Read. Read. Read. There are tips out there. People are blogging about this now. So you don’t have to struggle alone. Find the support you need.”

“Pace yourself. Breath through it.”

Superintendent O’Malley said Friday he wants to see something to help students become more successful soon.

“Not necessarily about 5 days. It’s not about virtual. It’s about what we can do now to ensure success,” he said.

A limited number of F1S students will begin a 5 day model Nov. 30.

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