BALTIMORE (WJZ) — School leaders and health experts say a long-term shutdown of school systems seems increasingly likely, perhaps even through the end of the school year, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sixth-grade teacher Kyair Butt teaches an anthropology course online.

Some teachers are creating virtual classrooms and sending out video lessons in the event that schools are closed through the rest of the academic year.

Things are different for sixth-grade teacher Kyair Butts, or Mr. K, teaching anthropology from home.

He, and many other teachers, are embracing a world where virtual classrooms are the new normal. His students are signing on using the online software, Zoom. 
Teachers are having to get creative with the coronavirus causing school closures across the country. 

“I’m grateful we have someone like Mr. K,” Dulcinae Brown, a parent, said.

Teachers, however, are still experiencing a few technical difficulties as they transition to online classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Oh my gosh, the teacher internet went out again, and he’s not here anymore, but they were patient and we were able to get rolling again,” Butts said.

Baltimore City literacy teacher Sarah Pasko is sending out daily video lessons to her third-grade students.

She is making students and parents aware this is a learning process for teachers, too.

“This is a new time, and we’re not used to having this happen, so there might be a learning curve for all of us, myself included,” she said.

There are over 80,000 children in Baltimore City who are home right now.

“I think it’s stressful because sometimes I look forward to going to school,” a Baltimore City Schools student told WJZ.

The City of Baltimore initially said it would only be two weeks and sent students home with learning packets.

“A packet can’t push and challenge a student in the same way a teacher can,” Butts said.

Now, officials are singling school closures may be for much longer.

“If it’s two weeks, I think teachers, students and families can recover,” Butts said. “If it’s longer than two weeks, the research does show that there’s learning loss.”

Butts said that about half of his students are able to take advantage of his virtual classrooms, but as for his students who might not have access to the internet, he’s concerned about how the timing is affecting them as schools remain closed.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Annie Rose Ramos

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