Coronavirus
A student attends a virtual class on Monday. A student attends a virtual class on Monday.

Return to school poses a few problems for parents, grandparents

Getting access to videoconferencing website and TV channels proved a challenge for some

The first day of the new school year was “a lost day for my son” due to difficulties in accessing virtual classes, said the mother of a 6-year-old boy on Monday.

Mitzi Victoria Gómez, who left her son with his grandparents on the first day of the “new normal” school year because both she and her partner had to go to work, was not the only person frustrated with the shift to online and televised learning precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Teachers and students across Mexico as well as some of the latter’s parents and grandparents had problems accessing online classes and televised educational content on Monday, according to reports by the newspapers El Universal and El Financiero.

“From seven in the morning, the technology failed. Distance classes failed to take place as planned,” the former newspaper said.

One problem was that Zoom, the videoconferencing website, experienced widespread outages around the world on Monday morning.

Students, parents and others also complained on social media that the Ministry of Education’s online learning platform was inaccessible or taking forever to load and that they lacked information about educational programming on television.

For Gómez’s son Derek, the day was lost because even after Zoom’s issues were resolved his grandfather couldn’t work out how to log into his grandson’s classes.

María González, the mother of a sixth grade student, said that first day nerves turned to stress on Monday when neither she nor her son were able to log into Zoom to access his private school’s virtual classes.

Many other students and parents also had problems logging into Zoom as well as other video-communication platforms such as Google Meet.

Ana Laura Ramírez told El Universal that her children were unable to attend virtual televised classes because she couldn’t tune in to the free-to-air channels on which they were broadcast. She said she would have to buy a new antenna to access the channels because her TV is currently only connected to a cable service.

Ramírez, who said she was “very annoyed” with the situation, also described Monday as a lost day.

One mother in Cozumel, an island off the coast of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, put out a call for help on Twitter when she couldn’t find the televised classes her children were supposed to watch.

“Does anybody know at what time and on what channel … they show [classes for] the second and third grades of primary school? Help!” she wrote. But no one responded.

Another Twitter user claimed that programming for the second and third grades of middle school had been mixed up.

Obviously frustrated with his lack of success in either setting his child up for home schooling or getting him or her to pay attention to the classes, Twitter user @juanmariachito wrote:

“I don’t know how other dads and moms are going with the virtual classes for their little children but it went haywire here from 11:00 a.m.”

While there was a lot of frustration for students, teachers and parents, some other people saw the shift to distance learning, and the resultant availability of education in one’s home, in a more positive light.

Twitter user @Alesidenew, who describes herself as a norteña (native of northern Mexico) and an AMLOVER (a big fan of the president), said that her 76-year-old mother expressed interest in watching televised classes to further her own education.

“My 76-year-old mamita only studied until the sixth grade of primary school and now she says to me, ‘Daughter, see what time they’re showing the secondary school classes so that I can take them. You have to make the most of it, let’s see what I learn!’”

Mexico’s 30 million students will continue to study virtually until authorities believe that the coronavirus risk has decreased to a level at which schools can reopen safely.

Source: El Universal (sp), El Financiero (sp) 

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