TULARE COUNTY Calif. (KSEE) — It was the first day of school for many students in the south valley and instead of teachers welcoming the new school year with a smile and a handshake they were greeting their students through electronic devices.
Tamara Ravalin is the Superintendent of Visalia Unified. She said this was not a typical first day back to school.
“Well I have been out on several campuses this morning and it is eerily quiet with no students,” said Ravalin.
Ravalin said she normally sees kids excitedly waiting outside of their classrooms on the first day of school but today it was quiet and she along with her staff will have to get used to this new normal.
“We are all feeling like first-year teachers even if someone has taught for 20 to 30 years this is brand new and so people and teachers and staff parents students have to give themselves and others a lot of grace right now,” said Ravalin.
Ravalin said they have been distributing Chromebooks to their students for the past few weeks. Along with training their teachers on their expectations with online learning.
Greg Price is the President of Visalia Unified Teacher’s Association. He said these next two weeks teachers will be able to see what works and what doesn’t.
“It’s going to be a bumpy experience We are going to have lots of glitches but the first day with 27 thousand (plus) students is going to be that way when you are using new technology,” said Price.
Price said on top of fixing the electronic glitches teachers are asking to change the current schedule.
As of right now educators teach half of their class in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. Some teachers say they would rather teacher more of their students at a time.
Tulare City School District also went back to school Thursday morning.
Brian Hollingshead is the Superintendent of Tulare City School District. He said this for both educators and students this is a first for them.
“I don’t think any of us in education started to be digital learning teachers,” said Hollingshead.
Hollingshead said he is confident in his teachers and students and the next few weeks they will work out the bugs that come with online learning.