FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — No matter whether your kids went back to the classroom to learn or you’ve made your home the classroom, it’s a different first day of school for everyone in Arkansas.
Fourth-grader Elle Hiryak is in Mrs. Sullivan’s virtual classroom from Root Elementary in Fayetteville.
“I feel like Mrs. Sullivan was a great teacher and I’m excited to start the year,” she said.
Elle’s little brother, Will, started kindergarten but also from their home. Their mom, Jamie Hiryak says their first day of virtual school went great.
“My daughter is in fourth grade, so that’s gone a little smoother," Jamie said,
She’s older, she done it before, but my son is in kindergarten, so being new, that’s been a whole different experience. The teacher is doing great, it’s just a lot."
Jamie says they think they’ll be able to get into a rhythm after they work out all the first week of school kinks. She wants parents to work together to make this school year as normal as possible no matter where kids are learning.
“I’m sure I’ll look back at this moment on their childhood fondly, even if it’s hard in the moment and it’s okay for it to be hard," Jamie said. "I validate every parent that feels that way because it is hard. I’m glad they are back into a routine."
Sarah Sullivan is teaching virtual fourth grade from her empty classroom at Root Elementary. She says she’s still teaching her students just like if they were in her classroom.
“It’s not 'hey here is your work, get it done,' I’m still in charge of teaching," she said. "I still get to create my lessons. I get to chose how I meet our standards and use our curriculum to meet the needs of our virtual learners."
The Fayetteville School District says 33% of kindergarten through 6th-grade students are enrolled in the home campus virtual learning and 22% of 7th through 12th graders are enrolled in virtual learning.