A Parent's Perspective: Virtual Learning in the Pandemic

Natalie Williams
June 8, 2021

Greg Angell is the parent of four children in the Summers County school district of West Virginia. In 2020, three of Angell’s children enrolled in virtual learning due to the pandemic. Until Proximity Learning was introduced into the district in August, “Having a teacher five days a week was something [my kids] would not have been able to have in the current school year with COVID,” notes Angell. 

The state attempted to supplement students with the West Virginia Virtual program which would make students learn on their own time, without live instruction. Because West Virginia Virtual is self-paced, students are required to take initiative to reach out to a teacher if they do not understand the material or require help. Submission for instruction may take up to 24 hours for a teacher to respond, decreasing the efficiency of communication and requiring students to pause their learning progress. 

The transition from in-person instruction to virtual learning posed many concerns for Angell and other parents in such a small district. Because Summers County is so rural, attracting highly qualified teachers is a challenge. Paused instruction in the pandemic and long-term, inexperienced subs transitioning to remote learning resulted in education gaps for students entering a new grade level. Flexibility concerning the structure of virtual learning and bandwidth capability in Summers County raised many questions for parents about the effectiveness of this new technology. Thankfully, Angell’s concerns were laid to rest when he joined his children in class to get to know our Proximity teachers. 

Proximity Learning Solutions

Because Proximity Learning guarantees an instructor five days a week and implements interactive educational materials into courses, Angell felt confident that his children were learning material they could retain. His children were able to receive individual attention from a teacher that made them feel like they were still in a classroom,  “My kids had to be there every day of the week. The most valuable part of Proximity is that they have had instruction every day that they should have given the pandemic.” 

When Angell’s fifth grade son began his virtual instruction, he was eager to continue, “Many of his teachers have made learning fun for him and introduced different games into his learning that he may or may not have been able to do in a larger classroom.” His fifth, seventh, and ninth graders are enrolled in Proximity’s traditional core subjects, as well as Spanish and PE. Angell expressed that the courses are “very high quality...[my kids] have excelled in the subjects they are taking.”

Keeping a rigid schedule and ensuring his children receive high-quality education was a priority for Angell, “The transition from traditional school to proximity was much easier than I anticipated; the platform was very intuitive.” Parent-teacher meetings have “opened the door for the relationship to continue even with virtual teaching,” where “the teachers that have been working with my children in Proximity have been very professional.” 

Proximity Learning is bridging the gap between accessibility and quality by providing experienced teachers to all districts and students, no matter how big or small. It is our mission to connect students with the education they deserve and create a system of equity in education. 

“If we provide our kids anything less in a virtual learning platform than five days a week of live teaching, we are not providing them the best educational opportunity we can and essentially setting them up for failure.” 

about the author
Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a focus in communication and public relations. She serves as a content creator for education blog posts, teacher and parent spotlights, and strategy for Proximity Learning social medias. Natalie is a current graduate student studying international relations and communication and is proud to work in her hometown of Austin, TX.

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