‘We needed lots of extra hugs’: Central Valley families adjust to new way of learning

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Central Valley students hit the textbooks and Chromebooks on Wednesday for the first day of school. It’s a learning curve families have had to adjust to.

The school district has given families many options for their kids. They can learn from home with the intention of going back or work fully remote. Children with special education needs can work partially in class or fully at school. All of them have different challenges families have to overcome.

Brooke Price started her day at 6 a.m. She got up, drank her coffee and got herself ready.

“Got the kids up at 7, started getting them dressed, fed,” she said. “Made sure everyone had their teeth actually brushed.”

Price wanted a sense of normalcy, so they stuck with their traditional first day of school pictures.

She has six kids. Two are in high school and one is in middle school. Another is in fourth grade and her youngest school-aged child is in preschool. Price also has a baby.

“We have two in person, two virtual and so trying to get kids to school on time and making sure the ones at home are set up on time, it was a little…spastic,” she explained.

Everything started to sink it for Price and the kids.

“We had some kiddos who had really, really big emotions for this morning,” Price said, “and so we needed lots of extra hugs. Lots of extra assurance.”

With love from mom and dad, Price took her son to his middle school. An hour later, she took another child to school. They were having bus issues.

“One kiddo I never received a phone call so I don’t know if he just wasn’t flagged as needing to ride the bus and then another kiddo we moved and they had the wrong address,” Price explained.

She said her son’s elementary school bus system is figured out. She is hoping to have it all scheduled for tomorrow.

“We have two in person, two virtual and so trying to get kids to school on time and making sure the ones at home are set up on time, it was a little…spastic,” she explained.

Back at home, her older kids were having some difficulty.

“My WiFi was cutting out and the teacher would cut out and I couldn’t hear what she was saying,” said Halle Price, a Central Valley High School junior. “I thought I got kicked out but it was just messed up a bit, but I wasn’t able to hear her and but I never got kicked out.”

She was also having problems with her Chromebook given to her by the school district.

“The sound doesn’t work so like, I can’t play speakers or plug headphones into it,” Halle said. “I found out when I logged onto the meeting and couldn’t hear anything so I grabbed a different one from my room.”

Halle is doing a self-paced online learning, one of the four options families could choose from.

“It’s nice not having to go and still being able to work and get my work done when I want to do it,” she said.

Despite the challenges, the Price family is trying to stay positive. The mom of six said it’s all about grace for everyone.

“It is what it is and so we’re just going to take it one day at a time and do the best we can,” Brooke Price said. “I would like for it to be like it was last September. That would be great, but we can’t so we’ll do what we can.”

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