Pandemic sparks boom in virtual services for schools in United States | Domestic and Global

Despite the challenges of distance learning during pandemics, public school systems across the United States have increasingly implemented virtual academies to cater to families who find distance learning the most. effective for their children. I am.

A majority of the 38 public education sectors that responded to the Associated Press survey this summer indicated that additional permanent virtual schools and programs will be implemented over the next school year.

Parental demand is driven to some extent by virus issues, but there is also a preference for the flexibility and independence associated with remote instructions. And the school district is keen to maintain subsequent enrollments. Watch the students go For virtual charters, home schooling, private schools and other options, a reduction that can result in a reduction in funding.

“This is the future,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of the American School Administrators Association. “Some of these states may deny it now, but soon they are lining up because they see the benefits when they see other states doing it. You have to align yourself. “

New Jersey mother Karen Strauss lost her brother-in-law in a pandemic. Her vaccinated teenager returns straight away, but she wants to stay at Bridgewater until her five-year-old can shoot. According to Strauss, Logan excels online under the guidance of a teacher.

“If home learning is best for them, why not do it? What is the reason, if not that people are afraid of change? ” She said.

School district plans for a gradual increase in long-term, full-time virtual programs have skyrocketed during the pandemic. Students in the virtual academy are usually educated separately from other students in the district.

In Virginia, before the pandemic, most locally run virtual programs offered one-to-one lessons only to students in grades 6 to 12, offering full-time instruction. Was almost nonexistent. In the new school year, 110 of 132 federal school districts will use Virtual Virginia, a state-owned kindergarten to high school program, to deliver some or all of full-time virtual education, spokesperson said. . said Charles Pile. So far, he said, 7,636 students are enrolling full-time in the fall, compared to just 413 for the 2019-20 academic year.

Elsewhere, authorities in Tennessee approved 29 new online schools in the 2021-22 school year. That’s more than double the number created over the past decade, spokesman Brian Blackley said. Colorado has increased in number from the year before the pandemic, according to spokesperson Jeremy Meyer, with 20 requests for permanent online options for a single district and permanent multi-districts. Submitted 6 applications for online schools in Colorado. Minnesota also saw a significant increase, with 26 new online providers approved in July and 15 applications still pending.

This year in New Mexico, where schools, like most states, require schools to offer face-to-face learning, Rio Rancho public schools are using federal relief funds to add a K-5 SpaRRk academy fully insulated. Made. According to a survey, nearly 600 students in a family of 7,500 students are interested in pursuing virtually, including those who prefer to be more involved in the education of their children. Janna Chenault, elementary school improvement manager, said.

“We changed classes to start, but we’re going to be K-5 because we were interested in some of the kindergarten parents and wanted to keep them in our district. », Declared Chenault.

The delta-variant epidemic and increasing prevalence cast a shadow at the start of the school year, but President Joe Biden and educators across the country were concerned, mainly due to concerns that many were underserved. , Encourages a return to face-to-face teaching. Through distance education.

Texas test scores show the percentage of students reading at grade level fell to the lowest level since 2017, while math scores fell to the lowest points since 2013. Distance learners driving the decline.. Test results in Louisiana also showed that public school students who took face-to-face lessons during a coronavirus pandemic were superior to those who relied on distance learning.

In the pre-pandemic investigation, Fully virtualized school performance.. According to a 2019 report from the National Education Policy Center, the data was limited by various reporting and accountability requirements, but was rated acceptable on 320 virtual schools with performance reviews available. Was only 48.5%.

However, according to Domenech, families looking for a virtual school often have strong students who feel trapped in the classroom.

“These are spontaneous students who are probably already doing very well in the top 10% of their classes. Therefore, distance learning is a great opportunity for individual learning to allow them to grow at their own pace. He says. Noted.

Before the pandemic, 691 fully virtualized public schools enrolled 293,717 students in the 2019-2020 school year, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. This is compared to 478 schools with just under 200,000 enrollments in 2013-14. Predictions for next year are not available, according to NCES.

Approaches to distance learning vary from state to state and, as in Idaho, decisions are entirely up to the local committee. Districts may also need state approval to operate their own online schools outside of schools that may exist for students statewide.

Massachusetts needs detailed suggestions from districts that need equitable access, curriculum, and documented demand. Arizona’s new online school will be accredited until it proves academic integrity through student grades.

At least some of the school district’s virtual schools may never accept students. In North Carolina, 52 districts have planned a fully virtualized school, but some districts have been set up as emergency response plans as needed, said Mary, a spokesperson for National Education. Lee Gibson said.

Some parents are against it in states such as New Jersey, Texas and Illinois, which have removed a wide range of distance options and limited them to students under special circumstances.

“We’re not trying to stop anyone from going back to school or trying to get the world back to normal,” said Deborah Odor, the New Jersey mother. She wants sons and daughters too young to be vaccinated to continue this year in remote areas for health reasons.

“We had no choice,” said Odor, who is part of a group of parents who are asking to change him.

Many parents had difficult experiences with e-learning during the pandemic, but they often saw versions implemented with little planning. Michael Barber, who studies online learning at the University of Turo in California, said parents who left a negative impression of distance learning could slow their overall growth.

“Even if they were offered this option three or five years later, this kind of experience polluted them,” he said.

Pandemic sparks boom in virtual services for schools in United States | Domestic and Global

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Redwood Credit Union Director of Virtual Services Wins North Bay Women in Business Award

Deirdre Thompson, senior vice president of virtual service delivery at Redwood Credit Union in Santa Rosa, is the recipient of the 2021 Women in Business Awards from the North Bay Business Journal.

Professional experience: Over 20 years of strategic and operational leadership with a passion for service. Equipped with a unique blend of multi-generational and multi-channel skills.

Ability to deliver significantly happier and more loyal members, customers and team members, as well as sustainable growth.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, English, University of California, Berkeley. Western CUNA Management School, Pomona

Staff: 65

Tell us about yourself and your business: Redwood Credit Union is a trusted local community credit union founded in 1950, and as a financial cooperative, it focuses on people, not profits. RCU’s values ​​align with mine of growth, service and thriving communities.

I’m late in the credit union movement, having only been a part of it for ten years – having spent a lot of time in corporate banking – but this role offers me the connection between heart and mind. which is so important.

Is there a major achievement over the past year that you would like to share?

A major achievement has been how our team members have responded to the pandemic and been there for our members in ways we never expected.

We are passionate about service, so this part is not surprising, but what was surprising was how our team members demonstrated adaptability and selflessness. They were truly there for our members, even when they faced their own personal challenges.

What achievement are you most proud of?

To be there for our members with real solutions in the most difficult times.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Building on what we have created in a way that elevates and strengthens our culture and fulfills our mission, vision and values. The world has fundamentally changed, and not working differently is not an option.

Words that best describe you: Curious, optimistic, determined and resilient.

Personally, which of the adjustments you have had to make in your family life and career have been the most difficult?

Keep clear boundaries and be okay with disagreeing, then do something about it. Being intentional is an effort in itself, so I practice.

What about the women you work with or know outside of the workplace? What adjustments did they have to make?

Basically, reserving some of the grace that they gladly bestows on others for themselves when their plans (big and small) go wrong and celebrating the victories.

Finally on COVID, what changes in your routine or approach to your work that you have made in the wake of the pandemic will remain in place, whether at work or in your outlook on your life at home?

I changed my way of communicating with people virtually and I was more attentive to phone calls and meetings. Every chat doesn’t require a meeting, and creating virtual fun is an important skill that we must maintain.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you encountered and how did you overcome them?

The biggest obstacles were the preconceptions about my character and my abilities. Overcome them with a strong support system, network and just do it while staying true to myself.

How do you think your profession will evolve over the next five years?

Humanized and organized technology will become more and more integrated into our lives. I expect it to be inclusive, multilingual and empowering. In short, it must do good.

Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a bit about this person.

There were a few: Hilda Costa, Marti Levada, and Ed Hawthorne. All were intrepid, creative and curious problem solvers who got things done by empowering their teams and engaging diverse groups with a common goal.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the world of work today?

Know your worth, evolve, learn and build a strong support system.

Most Admired Businessman Outside Your Organization: Stacy Abrams

Typical day at the office: Meetings, collaboration, reviewing data for models / what’s new / changed, strategic work, preparing for the next day.

Best place to work outside your office: My backyard

Current reading: “Breath, the new science of a lost art” by James Nestor and the 1619 project by Nikole Hannah-Jones

Most want to meet: Mary Ellen Pleasant

Social networks you use the most: Twitter – I have a short attention span.

Anti stress : The outdoors, deep breathing and quality time with the people I love.

Favourite hobbies : Read, travel, dance

What would parents or loved ones say if asked to brag about you?

My parents would say they are proud of who I have become, and my husband would say that I love with all my heart.


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Churches return to virtual services

The Chronicle

Boitumelo Makhurane, columnist
MOST churches in Bulawayo yesterday complied with new lockdown regulations banning public gatherings, most of them using virtual services.

Last week, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Welfare Constantino Chiwenga tightened lockdown rules where all gatherings except funerals are banned.

Church leaders said the cancellation of utilities was in line with lockdown regulations to combat the spread of the deadly global pandemic, which has killed nearly 4 million people worldwide.

A Chronicle press team traveled to the city and observed that a number of churches in the western and eastern suburbs had their doors locked in accordance with lockdown regulations.

However, some members of the apostolic faith cult worshiping in open spaces have defied the lockdown rules.

The senior pastor in charge of the Brothers in Christ Church (BICC), Bulawayo Central, Rev. Ndabezinhle Nyathi said the government ban on public gatherings was aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic.

“The government has done the right thing by banning public gatherings as new cases are on the rise. We encourage our devotees and all Zimbabweans to wear face masks in public places, to disinfect their hands and to practice social distancing as well as to avoid unnecessary movements, ”he said.

Reverend Nyathi said his church has resorted to online sermons.

“We now conduct sermons online; we use facebook and zoom in to reach our followers. Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. we have a sermon in Sunday school and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. we have the main service. The ban on gatherings did not stop us from preaching the word of God, which is why we resorted to online sermons. During the week we also publish sermons and musical audios. Every morning I send a devotional message and it is shared on different media platforms. We have also created discussion groups where we record audios, ”he said.

The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe (ELCZ) for the Western Diocese, Bishop Michael Dube, said: “We have respected the government’s ban on public gatherings, which is very necessary given of the surge in Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe. There is a need to protect lives and as a church we have used virtual services, which we live stream and share on various social media platforms, ” he said.

Bishop Dube urged other worshipers to open WhatsApp groups to share sermons, scriptures and songs.

Bulawayo-based prophet, founder and leader of the Christ Life Generation Church, Prophet Black Elisha, said his church welcomed the decision and resorted to virtual space.

A majority of churches have resorted to opening groups for services and using the cheaper WhatsApp platform.

Most worshipers said they worshiped privately in their homes yesterday with support in the form of live streaming, downloads, or printed worship packages and sermons, which were made available to members through of their pastors. – @ Boity104


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Churches return to virtual services

The Chronicle

Boitumelo Makhurane, columnist
MOST churches in Bulawayo yesterday complied with new lockdown regulations banning public gatherings, most of them using virtual services.

Last week, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Welfare Constantino Chiwenga tightened lockdown rules where all gatherings except funerals are banned.

Church leaders said the cancellation of utilities was in line with lockdown regulations to combat the spread of the deadly global pandemic, which has killed nearly 4 million people around the world.

A Chronicle press team traveled to the city and observed that a number of churches in the western and eastern suburbs had their doors locked in accordance with lockdown regulations.

However, some members of the apostolic faith sect worshiping in open spaces have defied the lockdown rules.

The senior pastor in charge of the Brothers in Christ Church (BICC), Bulawayo Central, Rev. Ndabezinhle Nyathi said the government ban on public gatherings was aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic.

“The government has done the right thing by banning public gatherings as new cases are on the rise. We encourage our devotees and all Zimbabweans to wear face masks in public places, to disinfect their hands and to practice social distancing as well as to avoid unnecessary movements, ”he said.

Reverend Nyathi said his church has resorted to online sermons.

“We now conduct sermons online; we use facebook and zoom in to reach our followers. Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. we have a sermon in Sunday school and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. we have the main service. The ban on gatherings did not stop us from preaching the word of God, which is why we resorted to online sermons. During the week we also publish sermons and musical audios. Every morning I send a devotional message and it is shared on different media platforms. We have also created discussion groups where we record audios, ”he said.

The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe (ELCZ) for the Western Diocese, Bishop Michael Dube, said: “We have respected the government’s ban on public gatherings, which is very necessary given of the surge in Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe. There is a need to protect lives and as a church we have used virtual services, which we live stream and share on various social media platforms, ” he said.

Bishop Dube urged other worshipers to open WhatsApp groups to share sermons, scriptures and songs.

Bulawayo-based prophet, founder and leader of the Christ Life Generation Church, Prophet Black Elisha said his church welcomed the decision and resorted to virtual space.

A majority of churches have resorted to opening groups for services and using the cheaper WhatsApp platform.

Most worshipers said they worshiped privately in their homes yesterday with support in the form of live streaming, downloads, or printed worship packages and sermons, which were made available to members through of their pastors. – @ Boity104


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Local barber shop that hopes to reopen soon, turns to virtual service provision

Element Hair Studio, located at The Boardwalk, is seeing high demand for its virtual hair salon services

Ontario’s plan to gradually reopen has helped give some hope to those eager to have their hair cut when the lockdown ends.

However, there is still a long time to go before barber shops and hair salons are allowed to reopen.

The owners of Element Hair Studio in The Boardwalk said they get a flood of inquiries from clients checking if they can finally make a hair appointment – and the answer for now is no.

“I mean, it’s been like that from the very beginning,” said Kim Neilson, co-owner of Element Hair.

“I would send out newsletters every few weeks, just reminding everyone that we are doing the same as we did the last two blocks. Anyone with dates from April 3 – this is considered like our waiting list. once we have a reopening date, we will call these people and book them. “

She added that they had to adapt during the long period that the salon had to remain closed.

“I filmed my hair, sectioned off my sections, did a great tutorial, and added so many positive posts saying ‘everything is going to be okay’ and ‘we’re all going to be fine’, and customers were calling me crying, saying how good they felt and how much I made them feel. We still do today. “

Co-owner Lance Neilson says that even after improvising, government support has not been enough.

“Our location [at the Boardwalk] – our rent was not cheap. We have only been open in 2021 for six weeks. On top of that, I would say our industry should be open, not closed. I’d rather have that than support. “

He said they spent a lot of money on the first lockdown to ensure compliance with COVID security guidelines – adding that before the lockdown they had served more than 6,000 customers without any issues.

Kim Neilson says she has received a lot of positive feedback about her virtual services. She currently consults virtually with clients across Canada and plans to maintain services even after the pandemic is over.

You can access some of its virtual services and personalized color kits on their website, elementhair.com.


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