Parents team up to create ‘learning pods’ as schools shift online

Back To School

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Local parents are turning to learning pods this school year now that Chatham County classes will start online. It’s the latest education trend popping up around the country. Parents on Tybee Island are giving their children a somewhat normal school experience by doing this.

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in Georgia, Chatham County parents say this is as normal as it’s going to get for now.

“I don’t know how other parents are going to do this I really don’t,” Chatham County parent, Susan Baizley said.

Learning pods or “pandemic pods” are forming around the country put together by parents like Susan Baizley who said it was rough when schools abruptly closed in the spring.

“It was so hard emotionally and socially and everything for the kids and the parents,” Baizley told News 3.

Baizley said while she’d prefer to see students back in school she said the Chatham County school district made the right decision.

“I totally believe they’ve made the right choice in terms of health. You look at the other schools in Georgia that have opened up and had 300 kids test positive within three days,” Baizley said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, she started making masks to raise money for organizations in need, but now she’s shifting her focus to make sure her children have the help they need. It was an idea formed during a beach day on Tybee.

“There were five or six parents and we all have kids the same age and when we realized that school was going to be totally virtual we all knew we hadn’t done very well with the experience in the spring when the kids came home,” Baizley said.

Learning pods are small in-person learning groups with the help of an in-person tutor or teacher.

“Where the kids could go every day and have oversight, structure with the teacher, not be at home, and have that kind of level of supervision,” Baizley said.

So the parents found a space on the island where they could mimic a normal school day. The parents will hire a tutor and pay them hourly but with that comes concerns for those who can’t afford the extra help.

“Some of the articles have highlighted how this is kind of an elitist thing. Certainly, we do not feel that any of us are wealthy or elitist,” Baizley said.

The parents are still looking for a teacher and will be putting together the final details before school starts next week.

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