Chicago Public Schools has just started its remote learning program, but some cities have been holding virtual classes for weeks.
One of those places is nearly 8,000 miles from Chicago: Hong Kong, which recently wrapped up nine weeks of what they call “home learning.”
“Home learning in my eyes is an opportunity for students to continue to consolidate skills that have been introduced in a formal school setting and to provide an opportunity to extend curiosity,” said Josh Blue, a Palatine native and vice principal at English Schools Foundation Kennedy School in Hong Kong.
His school is now on a two-week Easter break—and Blue said it’s much needed. Hong Kong is used to having to switch to home learning. Sometimes, the common flu season can cause school closures. However, they didn’t anticipate this closure to go on for so long.
“During the day I’m spending 8, 12, 14 hours on a computer,” Blue said. “It does reach a point where you get an email from someone frustrated or a parent and you can’t take it personally—this situation isn’t in your control.”
It’s also been a difficult adjustment for parents, both economically and mentally.
“With the job rate dropping, a lot of people in Hong Kong have taken a hard hit, but school costs have stayed the same,” Blue said.
And it can be hard, Blue said, for parents to take on the added role of teacher.
When it comes to CPS’s transition to remote learning, Blue said he’s nervous for students.
“Schools in the U.S. provide so many social services to students,” Blue said. “For CPS, children rely on schools for meals, to learn and they provide a place to feel safe and secure.”