By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Teaching and learning have become a whole new process. The coronavirus pandemic’s effect is farreaching. Virtual classes are a new reality.

“It’s been great seeing my friends and my teachers online,” Lyiah Harper, a fourth grade student, said.

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Students at West Philadelphia’s Universal Bluford Charter School are in their second week of remote learning. Before getting to this point, teachers went through intensive training to prepare.

“Teachers who are tech-savvy began to host those professional development sessions, walking everybody through,” Principal Crystal Gary-Nelson said. “Showing them how to post assignments, change worksheets into PDFs.”

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That professional development got them to where they are today.

“I think it’s great that we get to have face-to-face interactions with our scholars,” Diana Condron, a fourth-grade teacher, said. “They are enjoying coming to class. We have homeroom every day.”

For Lyiah, carving out a quiet place inside her home helps her focus.

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“I use my fixed space upstairs in my room. I have my pencil and my paper and my desk,” Lyiah said.


Whenever a scholar has an issue, they can enter a breakout room and each teacher can service up to 100 scholars at the same time.

“We owe our scholars the best education possible,” Gary-Nelson said.

Superintendent William Hite says so far more students than anticipated have been logging in from Chromebooks across the school district.

It’s impressive considering the concerns they had about some not having access to wifi.

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Hite says the school district is working on plans to provide wifi hotspots for those without consistent online access.