LORAIN, Ohio — The coronavirus is making concerned parents opt out of sending their kids to school and instead choose remote learning. Although it’s a safe decision, it’s one that teachers have to plan out extra carefully.

What You Need To Know

  • Many parents are switching to online school to keep their children safe

  • The switch is not only a challenge for students, but also for teachers

  • Math teacher Melissa Gibson recommends a separate workspace for your children and a structured routine

Melissa Gibson, a math teacher at Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, is teaching her students virtually while also teaching her own children at home. She said it’s a challenge doing both, especially during the pandemic.

“It’s a scary time for us teachers,” Gibson said. “When we went through college, none of this was taught to us, you know? We were taught everything on paper and dealing with everything in a completely different way. So we are in a sense going back to school and learning new things.”

Gibson has set up her home with a workplace designated for her two children, Morgan and Mika. She said having a separate area for homework is helpful for her kids to focus.

“This is just kind of like the environment that’s separate from all distractions—no electronics. This is where we work, and they’ve gotten used to that,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s advice for students learning at home is to have a structured routine and a workplace with little distractions as possible.

“I know that it is difficult for students, so I think one of the most important (tips) is creating a schedule. My kids actually like having a timer, and if I set a timer, then they know when they timer goes off. Sometimes I work with the both together, and they both have to sit down and work,” Gibson said. She also recommended giving them a break, which she does with her kids; sometimes, they go play on their tablet for a little bit, watch TV or go outside.

After students, Gibson does something unique with her family: a pajama walk. They do it an hour before bedtime to help calm her family and decompress.

“It allows everybody to calm down, get that last bit of energy out and then when you come home, everyone is relaxed and ready for bed,” Gibson said.

Second grade student Morgan Gibson said she misses school, but there are upsides to being home.

“I totally miss going to school. I’m OK with her teaching me at home because I get to do video chats with my friends at school,” Morgan said. “I’m home with mommy.”