CHERRY HILL, N.J. - Students need internet access to attend school virtually this fall, but not all of them have it. During the pandemic, remote learning is the safest option, but it can also be a costly one. How can parents and school districts set children up for success, when even basic remote learning is not always an affordable option.
“I need to take it upon myself to find a way to educate my kids,” Amy Schwarz stated.
Schwarz, a mom of three, has been hard at work ahead of the new school year, researching academic options available to supplement the Cherry Hill School District’s hybrid learning plan for the fall. She says without live instruction daily, she fears her fourth grade daughter will fall behind.
“I said to myself, what is the best way she learns? And, that’s in person. And, I said if that’s not going to be an option for the fall, I needed to act preemptively in order to get an option for her that would work so that she wouldn’t be on TikTok or YouTube or any social media sites,” Amy explained.
But, private educational resources are pricey, especially when there are multiple children with multiple needs.
“For instance, for math, it’s $70 per hour,” Amy said.
Amy says she’s looking cyber school for her eight grader which run about $10,000 for the year. For nine-year-old Danielle, Amy is organizing a learning pod of six students and two teachers, which could greatly help her daughter.
“I feel like it will be as close as it can ne to making it more like a school classroom,” Danielle said.
But, these pods could run Amy roughly $650 a week.
“It’s a financial hardship. It is above and beyond taxes you pay. A hardship that a lot of students, a lot of don’t have the option for,” Amy added.
Schwarz, with a background in school social work, worries what will happen to the many families without the means to hire tutors, host semi-private pods or enroll in cyber school. She says she and other parnets are pushing the school district to troubleshoot with them.
“What can we we do as a district to help provide for those students so that they don’t fall through the cracks so that there aren’t the haves and have nots,” Amy remarked.
A group of parents had a meeting with Cherry Hill School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche Monday to see if the district can change its plan to mandate some live instruction every day of the week. This could minimize the need for some of out-of-pocket expenses. FOX 29 reached out to the school district for a comment on this and have not heard back.
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