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Omaha Public Schools’ first day means tech issues for some families

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 2:48 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2020 at 6:29 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If the first day of school depends on computers, there is a chance there will be difficulties.

Omaha Public Schools ran into some computer problems when they started the year with 100 percent remote learning Tuesday.

The first day of school was not the first day of school for some students.

There were students, parents and grandparents who spent the first day of school in a long line at Skinner Magnet School, all needing help to get their students’ computers to work for the first day of remote learning.

“We couldn’t get into the classroom, we couldn’t get anything done at all this morning. It was very frustrating,” said Cheryl Friez, grandmother to an OPS student.

Friez is one of many grandmothers who are helping with remote learning while students’ parents go to work during the day.

There are more grandparents in line trying to get help for their young students.

“My grandson has been in that line ever since 8:30 a.m. We went to his school and they sent us here, so we been here since 8:30 a.m. and it’s almost 11 a.m.,” said Patricia Jean-Paul, a grandmother to an OPS student.

“My other three kids, I had my grandkids, I had to call somebody in to come and sit with them because theirs are working perfectly. It’s just -- this is crazy,” she added.

OPS teachers have changed gears to teach remotely.

Taylor Gunter is a first-grade teacher now having to help young students learn their keyboards.

“If it’s your turn to talk, you’re going to make sure your button looks like this -- if it’s not your turn to talk, you’re going to make sure your button looks like this,” he instructed his class.

OPS officials expect the long lines of people looking for computer help to die down as time goes on.

“Once families learn to navigate where they need to be on the iPad, that will all slow down. We’ve helped a handful of families today and anticipate tomorrow will be less and the following day will be less. By the time we get to next week, everyone will be rocking,” said Principal Jennifer Leclair.

For these students standing in line -- maybe tomorrow will be their first day of school.

OPS officials say they feel they have exactly what they need and have enough technical assistance to help parents, grandparents, and teachers navigate the remote learning system.

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