Relying on a steady internet connection and various technology platforms, Boston students and teachers kicked off a successful start to the school year with virtual classes on Monday that will continue all week.
“It was great to see the smiles and the joy on the faces of the teachers and the students,” Superintendent Brenda Cassellius told the Herald.
Cassellius said, “we had some glitches with the technology,” but there were no major systemwide issues and most phone calls from families or teachers were taken care of at the school level.
“Now we are in a situation where this is school, this is our new normal, so this should feel more like a school day even though it is virtual,” Cassellius said.
Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said one major concern for teachers was attendance, which turned out to be much higher than anticipated.
“It definitely went more smoothly overall than I think we were initially anticipating, which shows just how much our teachers and school leaders and everyone pulled together,” Tang said.
Like Cassellius, Tang said there were some technical difficulties with logging on and getting into the correct online platforms, but it didn’t hinder the day.
“People were much more prepared to conduct remote learning than they were in the spring, so I think it’s higher quality than anyone experienced in the spring,” Tang said.
Not all Boston students were at home on Monday, though.
The YMCA of Greater Boston has set up quasi-classroom settings at several branches across the city — where students are receiving virtual lessons from their teachers, while also getting support from Y staff.
“The first day went pretty well,” said James Morton, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston. “The children seemed to be very attentive and focused.”
The full-day program has about 1,000 children at 22 different sites, and the number of students is expected to grow, Morton said.