Faith-based schools struggle to connect spiritually under remote learning


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Like all schools in Kanawha County, Cross Lanes Christian School had to start the school year virtually. An added obstacle for religion-based schools is connecting with their students spiritually.

On Tuesday, Brittany Atkins’ first grade classroom at Cross Lanes Christian School was empty. Fifteen desks were ready with face masks and there was a hand sanitization station in a corner for when the children return to in-person learning.

“The teachers right now are hurting because we want our students back,” said Atkins.

Despite teaching for over a week now, Atkins says she’s yet to meet them all in person.

“And I know that that’s a struggle because we love our students and we want them here,” she said.

Atkins now teaches class from her computer desk, trying to fit a whole day’s worth of material in three hours to limit screen time for the 6-year-olds.

“I do three or four breaks during even those three hours just so they can get up, they can stretch, go get a snack and just break away from that screen time,” she said.

Atkins says virtual learning has also been a struggle for parents and grandparents.

“I’ve had a lot of parents have a lot of technical difficulties and sometimes their students are coming in tardy because of their technical difficulties, we are having to mark them tardy on their grade card.”

Atkins has a third-grader at Cross Lanes Christian School and she says she understands the challenges the parents of her kids are facing.

“Mommy I want my friends back,” she says her son told her after the first few days of virtual learning.

Still, Atkins says she believes Gov. Jim Justice is doing the best he can with the information he has.

State school officials say all private schools have complied with the COVID-19 county color-coded map except for one.

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