Richmond County school leaders address at-home instruction challenges

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a challenging school year all over the country and things are no different here at home.

Many parents in Richmond County have reached out to NewsChannel 6, who wish to remain anonymous, saying they are having issues with virtual instruction.

Richmond County teachers began using Canvas, their learning management system, earlier this year. They used the product all through summer this year to get acclimated but when COVID-19 started to spread in the Garden City, Canvas was rolled out for everyone to use.

“From time to time the issues they have being they can’t log on. They can’t log on. Now as far as it being a very big issue, where it has been brought to the school system, no, it hasn’t been,” said board member Venus Cain.

A reliable, fast internet connection can be difficult to get in the more rural areas of Richmond County.

Cain said, “When you start looking, going out deep in Blythe and deep down in Hephzibah where there may not be an internet connection and people are still on dial-up, it is just the nature of the beast.”

Last year, the school district upgraded each school network to a 10-gigabyte connection.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Richmond County schools wrote, “In homes with slower internet connections, multiple users logging in at the same time can cause difficulty accessing virtual instruction. We recommend a minimum 25/3 mbps home internet connection for virtual learners and provided mobile hotspot devices for students who requested them at the start of the school year.”

“Our bandwidth is not what it needs to be in this city period point-blank. We should have fiber running all through this city but we don’t. So, if you have that many people on one network it’s going to slow down and you’re going to have issues because we don’t have the capacity. When we start getting a new program that’s going to involve parents using it, let’s bring some parents in. Let’s bring some parents in from all economic walks of life to see how well they can function using it,” said Cain.

According to Cain, some parents are using their cell phones to connect their child’s device to do school work but that she says that isn’t going to work.

She added, “Even though we’re a technically driven country, we’re really not there yet.”

The spokesperson from Richmond County schools said if you are having any technology or technical problems notify a teacher. Teachers have access to a 24/7 hotline for Canvas support and there is another hotline available through the school district’s Information Technology Helpline.

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