Vocational students from Revere adjust to remote learning

REVERE, MASS. (WHDH) - Vocational schools across Massachusetts are launching their fall semesters online due to the pandemic.

In Wakefield, the Northeast Metro Tech school decided to teach online due to the large percentage of students it has from Revere – a city designated as high-risk for the coronavirus. Because of that, school administrators made the decision to go fully remote.

“It’s really different. I miss going back to the classroom, seeing people,” Escander Abda, a student, said.

Abda is one of 1,300 who attend the school and have to continue to learn online.

Superintendent David Dibarri said all of the students have been provided a Chromebook and other materials to prepare them for an unconventional semester. It’s especially unusual for a school known for its hands-on learning programs.

“It has been a complete whirlwind … we’ve done a lot of purchasing – new plans involve supplies being shipped to students at home that students can work along with teachers,” he said.

Dibarri is concerned that teachers won’t have that connection with students that they usually have during a typical school semester. And some students agree that could be one barrier.

“Personally, I think we’d be learning more in class, there’s only so much you can teach behind a screen,” Abda said.

Teacher Amie Santos said she and her colleagues are working hard and spending more time to get to know their students because of this challenge.

“For the first week or two, let’s focus on social and emotional – asking them check-in questions,” she said.

“People teaching for a long time are learning, new teachers are learning, and students are going to get the hang of it and learn as well, too,” Santos said.

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