ST. LOUIS COUNTY – Families from the Riverview Gardens School District reached out to Fox 2 upset about the lack of resources they have been given to start this school year virtually.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page held a news conference a month ago saying he would do everything possible to ensure every student in each county district would have the technology they need to start the virtual school year successfully. He dedicated 4 million dollars from the Cares Act Fund and partnered with St. Louis County Library to purchase hotspots and tablets for districts in need.
Riverview Gardens will start the Fall semester one hundred percent virtually Thursday, August 27, but there is one problem. The students still do not have the equipment they need.
Anyla West is a 7th-grade student in the district. She personally emailed Fox 2 expressing her concern for her academic success. She is an A-B student and takes pride in her education. She says she has been frustrated since March when schools first closed.
“I’m frustrated because it is hard to try and learn things on your own without a teacher,” said Anyla. “I think it’s starting off bad because I haven’t learned anything yet, and all the schools around me already have their laptops and stuff and are already learning things.”
Access to technology is just one part of the problem. The lack of student-teacher interaction and direction is another.
“My concern is that my daughter is not getting the proper education and the right amount of teacher interaction with her just doing this packet,” said Myeisha West, Anyla’s mother.
Executive Director of Step Up St. Louis Erin Kelley says other school districts are experiencing the same issue.
“[School administrators] are building a plane while they’re flying it. I think that’s something that as a community we really need to understand. It’s just going to take a while to get some of these resources together,” said Kelley.
Kelly works closely with St. Louis County school districts. When she got word of Anyla’s concern she reached out to Riverview Gardens. She said district leaders said there is a backorder on the Chromebooks they’ve ordered for students and are one district in a long line of many.
Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon said it was his intent to have Chromebooks for all of their students to start the school year, but due to manufacturing and backorders, they had to go with plan B. He says families who are in need of WiFi and computers will get them as soon as they are available.