First day of school in Pennsylvania brings challenges, excitement

Maggie Kent Image
Monday, August 31, 2020
First day of school in Pennsylvania brings challenges, excitement
BACK TO SCHOOL: Students in Pennsylvania aren't the only ones excited for the first day of school.

UPPER DARBY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It's the first day of school for some across Pennsylvania, but instead of picking out a fancy outfit and new hairstyle, many kids are learning from home. The laptop is their connection to learning for the start of the school year.

Students aren't the only ones excited for the first day of school.

"I had more first day jitters than I ever have. But sitting with you now, having taught my first two classes this morning, I have 180 perspective. I feel so much better," said Jim Donahue, a 5th-grade teacher.

Donahue teaches language arts at Garrettford Elementary in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. In his class is David Jones Jr. who shared some advice.

"Try your best, you're going to graduate soon so you might as well give it all you've got," said Jones Jr.

In the Wissahickon School District, kindergarten through 5th graders are in class.

Technological problems for the virtual middle and high school meant long lines for laptop troubleshooting on the first day of instruction.

"The teachers are saying it crashed today because everyone went on at the same time. So we've just been having big problems with the internet," said 7th grader, Gavin Schneider.

In the Colonial School District, all grades are virtual. Fourth-grader Brody and first-grader Charlie are in their respective study spaces at home with mom, Taryn Amplo.

She says the spring instruction helped to get them acclimated for the fall.

"I think they need me less, I'm not hovering. I'm walking away much more. They're definitely more independent which is great," said Amplo.

For those who can't be home, the YMCA has converted into a virtual learning center.

"We've got all the schedules, we've done our best to keep all the grades together, all the school districts together," said Nic Lagere from the Kennett Square YMCA.

Parents, teachers and students say they plan on exercising patience both with themselves and others.

It's a learning curve that they've been prepared for since in-person school shut down in the spring.