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Peach County School leaders say remote learning has improved since start of the school year

Superintendent Lionel Brown says they've had fewer parent complaints after giving out devices and working with local businesses to create WiFi hubs for students.

PEACH COUNTY, Ga. — Rural internet access is a problem across the state.

That includes Peach County parents wanting to continue remote learning for their students. 

Teachers across the country can probably relate to Peach County High teacher Angela Heath on what it was like starting the school year off during a pandemic.

"For those first few weeks of school, the 12-14 hour days were not uncommon. It was just constant working, but now, we are getting into that rhythm," Heath said.

Access to technology and internet for rural counties in Georgia is a statewide problem. Peach County Superintendent Lionel Brown says he worked through the summer to close the digital gap.

"We have 35% of our students throughout the system, give or take a percentage point or two, that opted to do total online schooling," Brown said. "And out of that 35% at the very beginning, we had more calls about needing Chromebooks and the devices than anything else."

They were able to give a device to every student who needed one. The district partnered with churches and community centers to create WiFi hubs for students to connect to.

"They're still having some areas of connectivity problems, but we've been trying to overcome that by just trying to provide the resources from the school with hard copies and things of that nature, so I think we've had a pretty good start to the school year," Brown said.

"I have an understanding of what the students can do, what their limitations are, what my limitations are, what the technology's limitations are and we do have a little bit of a chance to breathe," Heath said.

Brown says they've had very few parent complaints this time around compared to last Spring.

There are about 3,500 students in the Peach County system.

Many students are still doing the hybrid mix of in-person and remote learning. Brown says they still haven't decided when they'll return in-person full-time.

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