Meet Jyla and Citlali: kindergartener and high school senior offer lens into online learning

When the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools last spring, teachers and families braced for a brief interruption of a few weeks.

Instead, the abrupt and often stumbling shift to virtual learning bled from one school year to the next. For half a year, students have entered classrooms through computer screens and connected with schoolmates on video conferences, while teachers improvised online lessons.

Schools scrambled to reimagine education for an era of quarantine, and entered the fall semester better prepared to stream math, science and reading lessons into millions of homes. Despite those ubiquitous live feeds, it’s unclear how well students are learning.

Are online lessons capturing their attention, or leaving their eyes glazed-over from long hours of screen-time? Do they understand teachers’ instructions, and know how to pose questions if they don’t? Do younger students and those with disabilities risk falling behind developmentally? And are those nearing graduation destined for uncertain

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