By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
Back-to-school shopping for Lotoria King, who has three children in Birmingham City Schools (BCS), usually meant supplies and clothing. Not this year.
“I’m trying to make sure they all have laptop computers with webcams. I have internet [service] right now, but sometimes it goes in and out,” she said. “I just hope everything works out and the kids have what they need when [school starts on September 8].”
Last month, school administrators announced that the first nine weeks of the BCS 2020–2021 year will be done remotely in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
King, who normally works as a caregiver for the elderly, said she plans to stay home with her children—Michael Mott, 15, a sophomore at A.H. Parker High School; and Nickoles Mott, 13, and Akeelah Mott, 11, who are in the eighth and sixth grades, respectively, at Malachi Wilkerson Middle School—when they work remotely from home.
“I prefer to do schoolwork with the kids, … but my husband, [Lawreen King, who works as a delivery agent for a local retailer], will keep working,” she said.
During the day, King plans for everyone to adhere to a strict schedule “as if we had to get up for school each day and get ready to get dropped off,” she said. “We’ll start at about 7:30 or 8 every morning.”
Another challenge is making sure the children will remain active and social through the first nine weeks, King said: “My daughter is worried about whether she’ll be able to keep being a cheerleader and playing basketball, and my eighth grader is worried about baseball because his season was cut short.”
Asked what happens after the first nine weeks and whether she plans to continue the remote learning, King said, “I think [my children] will continue to stay home or do the three days in, two days out because my two boys have asthma. [Experts] say [asthma patients] catch [COVID-19] easier, and that’s one of my big concerns.”
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