TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Tempe mother raising six school-aged children is urging a return to in-person learning.

"They're never going to catch up from what they're losing out this year on," said Tonya Drew. Drew has four biological children who are now out of the house and six adopted children.

"Because of these kids' circumstances, the second group is a little more challenging," Drew said.

Things were already tough educationally, but then the pandemic really made it hard. Five of the kids go to the Tempe Elementary School District, and one attends the Tempe Union High School District. Both districts are doing remote learning, but that doesn't mean Drew's kids aren't going to school.

Drew says they're taking part in online classes while supervised at their schools. And while she says it's better than nothing, she wants the schools to return to in-person learning because her kids' grades are suffering, and they're unable to concentrate outside the classroom.

"They need to be learning, and they're currently not," Drew said.

We reached out to both school districts, but neither was available for an interview. On their websites, both districts say the decision to move to remote learning is based on public health metrics.

"I am extremely disappointed that our school community metrics are so alarming and that we have to remain in Virtual Learning," said Tempe Elementary School District Superintendent Christine Busch in a letter to parents.

Still, Drew is concerned about the long-term effects of remote learning on her kids.

"Not only the educational piece but the socially and the isolation and the depression and the frustration part of it," Drew said. "And it could be something that could last with them forever."

 

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