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Columbus families hit technical snags on first day of remote learning

Matthew Rand
Columbus City Schools students log into remote learning on the first day of classes amid the ongoing teachers' strike.

Columbus City Schools began its first day of school remotely as teachers continued to strike for a third straight day Wednesday.

As part of the school district's plan to start virtually, they are providing grab-and-go meals and Chromebooks to students at 25 school sites. The district is also working with the parks department to provide Student Support Centers at area sites where students can find free wi-fi in a safe space.

Rayana Gilbert brought her second-grade daughter to the Glenwood Community Center. Gilbert was one of several parents who said they were unable to access the school's online system so that her child could receive attendance credit.

"I either have to take her to work with me—which I'm super privileged to do so—or leave her here with nothing to do and no computer to log into because we can't get the login," Gilbert said.

Matthew Rand
Columbus Global Academy is one of 25 sites being used to distribute grab-and-go meals and Chromebooks. CCS students began the school year remotely Wednesday amid the ongoing teachers' strike.

Superintendent Talisa Dixon acknowledged there have been technical issues accompanying the return to remote learning and asked parents to be patient.

Dr. Dixon said there is a help desk and technicians at all of the district's meal sites.

"[Parents] can bring in their Chromebooks if they need someone just to walk them through, because they haven't done it in quite some time," Dixon said. "We want to make sure that that process is as smooth as possible."

As negotiations resumed Wednesday afternoon, Dixon said she was "optimistic" that a resolution was within reach.

"We want our students in the classroom with their teachers," she said.

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.