PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It was a big day for a lot of students across the state. The new school year officially got underway in a number of school districts.

First day of school in Arizona looks a lot different with online classes

However, there weren't any students on campus because of the current health crisis. Everything was done online, and that is not how Phoenix mom, Alison DeRuiter, pictured the school year starting with her four kids. Everyone was gathered together doing online learning Monday, in the kitchen and dining room.

"I've been really impressed with the communication from teachers," said Deruiter. "I know a lot of them are learning as they go as well, but they have all been really positive and helpful."

The Deer Valley Unified School District is one of several school districts to roll out its online learning program Monday. The current health crisis has forced most schools across the state to start with online classes then, hopefully, offer in-person learning a couple weeks or months from now.

Most teachers have the option to lead online classes from home or their campus classrooms.

Jessica Morrison is one of many parents who felt frustrated for her 1st grader during the first day of online learning. She said the Zoom calls didn't always work, and there was trouble with internet connections.

On top of that, online learning from home is forcing Morrison to change her work schedule.

"I work now 3 to 8 in the evenings, which means I'm not able to be home for dinner with the family,  which I would like," said Morrison. "My schedule prior was that I worked during the day and was home at night."

Ryan Anderson is the director of Educational Technology and Distance Learning with the Cartwright School District in Phoenix. He said the best situation is for kids to be back in the classroom interacting with students and teachers but, right now, that's just not possible.

"We know that's the best case scenario," said Anderson. "But with the pandemic and situation we are actually facing, we have to provide the best possible learning opportunity through distance learning."

"A number of other school districts, in Mesa, Chandler, and Paradise Valley will start their online classes later this week.

Each district has a different timeline for bringing kids back on campus, but it is all subject to change.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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