As Connecticut schools remain closed indefinitely and families adjust to the realities of distance learning, ConnCAN is compiling insights from across the state to confront these ongoing challenges.

Share your voice! Click here if you’d like to complete a survey about your experiences with distance learning.

Or, email your quote and town to:

The survey is available in Spanish here.

“It has been a somewhat stressful experience. The tediousness of assignments and the lack of communication between teachers and students makes it hard to feel motivated and inspired to learn.” –Hartford high school student

The amount if work given. Way too much commitment if the parents are essential workers. None of that was taking into consideration.” –New Haven parent

I was happy with how prepared our district was initially. But after the first week, when new material started to be introduced is where the difference in learning styles became apparent. One of my kids is doing ok , the other one has fallen behind. Grades have dropped and mental health is suffering. It is extremely stressful as trying to work from home while also supporting my child in distance learning especially in subjects I can’t help with (math!). I cry every day.” –Plainville parent

“We find it to be a bit overwhelming but also a great way to push the children to do more challenging work.” –West Hartford parent

“My child was excited in the beginning. Now, he can’t seem to focus and no longer enjoys their class meetings on Google Classroom. He would enjoy being able to see his friends but policy will not allow the children to use their cameras if they have them. Personal phone calls would also be welcomed to let my child know he is missed/important/thought about. Teacher, Social Worker, Principal (Anyone). I am frustrated that staff are getting paid to stay home while many others are still working (sometimes more hours) – a phone call to 20 to 30 students a week would have a big impact.” –Plymouth parent

“It was chaotic at first. It’s a bit easier know, although there is no certainty of true learning and understanding of material. Not at kids learn the same way.” –New Haven parent

“Take into consideration that distance learning does not work well with all children. Offer support to parents who are still working or working from home.” –Bridgeport parent

“Our superintendent, Kelly Lyman sent frequent emails and voice communications, and demonstrated a transparent and humane tone.” –Mansfield parent

They provided a structured school day which follows a normal day but enables the student to work at their own pace. They give access to teachers for questions as they come up. Feel they could provide, for those who are completing work early, more lessons/“homework” so not having as much free time. ” –Darien parent

“It has been satisfactory for my junior but less than for my middle schooler. He is not receiving any teaching at all, only assignments, and since he has a learning disability it makes it extremely hard for him to be self taught since both my husband and I are working.” –Waterbury parent

“I don’t feel my child is learning. We pull all the assignments each morning and work through them all with him, but I don’t think he is learning it.” –Wolcott parent

I do not think it’s the district that needs to be prepared at this point, as much as it is the families. Parents need to be realistic and understand this is a PANDEMIC. It’s ever-changing and constantly moving. They need to understand we all need to be flexible.” –Norwalk parent

“Our distance learning provides great structure for my kids. My older daughter works through the entire day and seems engaged. My younger son often receives direct instruction from his 4th grade teacher. The district has handled everything really well.” –Fairfield parent

Assist special education students better with supports- calls, video conferencing, live video teaching.” –Shelton parent

“First and foremost, more communication on actual learning plans. Every school and every teacher is doing their own thing. It’s very frustrating to have multiple children in one school and one has google hangouts meetings nearly every day with his teacher and the other one’s teacher is sending faxes of text book pages over one page at a time! One child has “too much” work and the other not enough. They are both upset about it, and as a parent it’s very frustrating.” –Stamford parent

“It has been a very easy transition. I am a teacher in another district and I fully understand how much work this is for teachers. My child has easily transitioned into the groove of distance learning but missing going to school. Thank you teachers for your time consuming hard work!!!” –Clinton parent & teacher

It’s different and can be challenging at times, because it’s new to everyone. The district, administration and teachers have been great.” –New Haven parent

Pretty much the same as before, my child has been using online resources for 75% of her schoolwork already. District is communicative and supportive.” –Newington parent

The school sent packets home on the Thursday before the schools were shut down. They email us 3 times a day, plus update class dojo. Sometimes its hard to keep up with the 9 emails a day. My time schedule is messed up, since I’m working from home. I noticed its easier for the kids to do school work in the afternoons, since all morning long I’m working mainly because we need better wifi connection.” –Bridgeport parent

“Frustrating because I feel like our children are stuck in place academically.” –West Haven parent

“My kids (in kindergarten and 2nd grade) have daily worksheets in the usual subjects, and weekly meetings with their teachers. It’s not a priority for our family to focus on academic rigor right now, but I believe that if it were a concern, we have an overwhelming amount of digital resources. We are focused on staying sane, in part by limiting screen time.” –Mansfield parent

“It has been exhausting chaos. Teachers have done extremely well in moving to Google classroom. However, that doesn’t solve the need for a teacher. My son can watch all of the videos in the world for math, but I can’t teach him common core math. He still needs that interaction. Right now, it is distance learning as opposed to distance teaching, and that is problematic.” –Hartford parent

“A new way to teach and learn that should be standard going forward for some.” –Stratford parent

“In the beginning the teachers were great at reaching out to the students but that changed after “policies” were developed. 4 kids, 3 on IEP 1 on a 504. Varying communications, one child has their regular education work with EXTRA special education work in addition.” –Bristol parent

It was hard and confusing at first, but kids are getting used to it, even though they prefer to go to school.” –Stamford parent

We’ve been lucky and are having success with distance learning in our home. Though I also work from home, I feel my 7th and 8th graders were set up for success even prior to starting distance learning.” –Plainville parent

“FRUSTRATING. Infuriating. Unequal. Disheartening. Heartbreaking that the student learning experience is dependent upon the teacher’s technology skills alone at this point.” –Stamford parent

“Very frustrating. Only because I work from home. How can I be expected to work at full capacity at home, baby sit and make sure kids are on top of their school work. Especially if some kids have learning disabilities.” –Avon parent

“Overall it’s going good so far I just wish the schools didn’t require students to wake up so early and complete assignments rather just give it a due date. Now that kids are home they have more responsibility around the household and it’s a lot for them to balance.” –Hartford parent

It is very difficult to manage everything. As parents we are used to wearing different hats but now we are trying to be there for our children, while working from home and wanting to give our students the attention they need.” –Norwalk parent

“Distance learning has been, for the most part, manageable in our home. Our 7th grade daughter is good student so is able to complete work without difficulty. Major concern is the level of rigor and having true teacher-led instruction during the week like charter schools in Connecticut are providing for their students.” –Hartford parent

“It is extremely challenging for the younger students because they need help with every step and we are a two parent working household. As a teacher, I’m trying to help my own students but need to teach my own children in the meantime. It is beyond challenging.” –Trumbull parent & teacher

“I feel that the grades are not fair when the teachers are not correcting the work on time and not really explaining stuff — it’s not all the teachers…. that one or two.” –Bridgeport parent

“It’s been easy so far, it was a little difficult at first but after a little while I got used to it. They made sure we got everything we needed such as computers, instruments, notebooks, etc. once they knew we weren’t going to have school any longer.” –Hartford middle school student

“Haber tenido un plan de acción antes de que todo esto pasara. Las escuelas y las familias no estamos preparados para esto.” / “Having a plan of action before all of this happened. Schools and families are not ready for this.” (When asked what your district could have done better to prepare for the COVID-19 crisis) –Stamford parent

Challenging to manage, but all schools are understandably unprepared to fully engage distance learning.” –Woodbridge parent

Please describe what your district could have done better to prepare for the COVID-19 crisis:

“1. They could’ve explained us students what we were dealing with and what the COVID19 is.
2. They could’ve addressed the rumors about students having the virus sooner than they did.
3. They could’ve assigned computers to those who really need it
4. They could’ve explained certain lessons before we left physical school especially for students who struggle in certain areas of learning.” –Waterbury parent

“I’m a college professor and I have instructed over 100 students in a day. I didn’t think it would be this painful to teach my son (10) and daughter (6). If I didn’t have my sister-in-law’s help, I don’t think I could do it.” –Storrs parent

“My daughter told me I’m not cut out for this. She said her teachers are much better than me. She’s eight.” –Hartford parent

“Video Conference Capabilities… Each teacher should conduct a normal class instruction using video and online support.” –Fairfield parent

“As college educated, tech-savvy people, my husband and I didn’t think helping our first grader with distance learning would be so hard. Fortunately, our son’s teacher and special education teacher have been terrific in helping us navigate this new challenge.” –Rocky Hill parents

Difficult at first, but realized the teachers were very organized in the delivery of the schedule that my child is used to.” –Stamford parent

My kindergartener can’t focus and my 5th grader works longer than if she was in school.” –Plainville parent

“It has been more like a check in the box verse any meaningful instruction.. Pretty much a waste of time and loss of learning.” –Fairfield parent

“My grandson has about an hour of “busy work” per day. Not exactly college prep. And he’s a H.S. senior.” –Hartford grandparent

“Quickly arranged in light of the current situation. More effective work and assignment need to be given.” –Ellington parent


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