2 Twin Cities Families Share Their Distance Learning Experience With WCCO

WCCO has been documenting the distance learning journey of two Twin Cities families since September. Liz Collin reports (2:26). WCCO 4 News At 6- June 8, 2021

Video Transcript

- This week marks the end of the school year across much of Minnesota. For many, summer will be a welcome break from the balancing act the pandemic caused at home. WCCO has been documenting the distance learning journey of two Twin Cities families since September. Liz Collin shares the setbacks and sacrifices made.

LIZ COLLIN: We caught a brief glimpse of life as kids again on a Bloomington playground, as this brother and sister finish out an unprecedented school year.

CHALISA EVERSON: I had to expect a lot out of them. And I'm at work.

LIZ COLLIN: As a single mom, Chalisa Everson couldn't risk a drawn out quarantine away from the salon with kids at separate schools.

CHALISA EVERSON: So it's like, if I don't go to work I don't make any money. So I just kept them home.

LIZ COLLIN: With the help of their grandparents and dedicated teachers, Averie and Taj did their best to keep up with distance learning.

CHALISA EVERSON: There's good days where he's really upbeat, and then there's days where it's almost just depression.

LIZ COLLIN: Everson noticed the biggest behavioral changes in her 12-year-old, who she says she'd catch spending the day in his PJs or too much time playing video games and not turning in homework.

- I want to go back. Like, badly.

LIZ COLLIN: It's why Taj didn't hesitate when we asked him about his hopes for next year.

- I felt like I was an adult.

LIZ COLLIN: So you're ready to be a kid again, huh?

- Yeah.

LIZ COLLIN: On a baseball field in White Bear Lake, the Wongs are just getting back to some sense of normal, watching their second grader Matthew from the sidelines after a long school year also spent at home.

ZOUA VANG: I think the last time we talked we were having issues with the Alyssa now being stuck in the house so long that she didn't want to leave anymore.

LIZ COLLIN: Alyssa's rare genetic disorder means any kind of sickness can lead to life-threatening seizures.

ZOUA VANG: The vaccine was critical for a family like ours because it offers Alyssa that extra protection.

LIZ COLLIN: Zoua walked away from her career this past fall to be able to care for her three kids this year.

- Where's Alyssa's story?

LIZ COLLIN: And while they admit Alyssa's anxiety is getting better, they're hoping summer school will help get her back on track in the classroom.

ZOUA VANG: We're excited about that. But nervous. It's like the first day of school.

LIZ COLLIN: The Wongs will also keep up with noticeable safeguards to keep their daughter and sister safe--

DARRELL WONG: He doesn't want to take the risk of exposing himself to anything, so he keeps the mask nearby when he's in a group setting.

LIZ COLLIN: --as the summer season marks the start of a new playbook for all parents. In White Bear Lake, Liz Collin, WCCO 4 News.

- The Wong family also told Liz that they've noticed their boys have slipped a bit academically this year, too. But they think they'll be able to make up for it next year.