Lt. Gov. Hosemann concerned about long-term effect of virtual learning

Updated: Nov. 5, 2020 at 6:07 PM CST
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - COVID-19 is scary, and the long-term effects on education are becoming worrisome as well.

The question is what will be the long-term effects both socially and educationally? Educators are concerned, and so is Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann.

“We do see that there is going to be some economic issues as a result of loss of students,” said Wayne Rodolfich, superintendent of Pascagoula-Gautier Schools. “We also know that loss of time for students in the classroom will have an impact on accountability.”

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann made his prediction for next school term simple.

“We’re going to have a rough year in education,” said Hosemann.

His proposition comes from months of conversations with educators throughout the state, including one with a third-grade teacher on the Coast that had an impact.

“She broke down and started crying," said Hosemann. "She said, 'I’ve always had all my children pass the third-grade reading gate. And, I know I’ve got 15 in front of me and 30 on Zoom, and I know they’re not all going to pass this year.”

His conversations with educators have been a learning experience for him.

“We’re talking with teachers and administrators about how many children are here,” said Hosemann. “How many are missing? What is the quality of the work that they are actually getting? Are they logging on?”

He’s found one thing for sure.

“I have been concerned that distance learning is not a replacement for not being in front of a teacher.” said Hosemann.

Hosemann said he believes virtual learning should continue as a tool for specialized cases.

While Hosemann has no direct answer for COVID-19, he has developed some priorities he believes will keep public education on track.

Both familiar on the Coast: dual enrollment courses to gain college credits while still in high school; and year-round school, which is something the Gulfport School District will do next year.

“I think the idea that he jumped on the fact that we want to make sure there’s no legislative reasons for being in the way of that process is really important,” said Gulfport school superintendent Glen East. “I think it’s going to catch on, I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Hosemann said he believes virtual learning should continue as a tool for specialized cases.

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