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'It's hard': Seattle family grapples with tech challenges for remote learning

A Seattle family talks about what the transition to online schooling during the coronavirus pandemic has taught them.

SEATTLE — As students navigate distance learning, the transition to using more technology is creating some frustrations. 

The Adams family of Seattle says the experience in the spring was challenging.

"It was kind of like a multi-ring circus," said Dawn Adams. "You're like bailing on a sinking ship, is what the feeling is like." 

She says cramped bedrooms became classrooms.

"So space was one thing. The internet was another," she said.

The toll that quick transition took on her family left her with a panicked feeling.

"I mean it's hard. Two full-time, working parents, makes me cry a little bit because it's just a lot. We had two different schools, four different teachers," she said.

With campuses closed and classes being held online, that added up to mom, dad, 10-year-old Torsten, and identical twins Kris and Lukas all at home, all depending on devices and attempting to power through problems.

"You know, links that didn't work, links that weren't the same every week," Adams explained as she described the frustrations. "I was giving a presentation, and it just dropped, and I couldn't do anything about it. I just kept trying and trying and they just bailed on it." 

It's a topic that has come up during a virtual town hall meeting with Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau.

"Will students be penalized if there's internet issues?" one parent asked.

KING 5 asked Juneau how the district will address grades if students and families do not have adequate internet.

"We will be working with our school leaders about engaging students, and how our teachers and our school buildings are reaching out to make sure that families have the resources that they need in order to engage in learning," Juneau responded. "If that starts with providing devices, internet, we will get there." 

Juneau says spring was an emergency situation that the district has learned from, and Adams says she has learned from the experience too.

"I'm giving myself a little more grace. I wasn't at first. I literally was, I think I was on the brink of like a mental health break down because I just was not letting my perfectionist, normal person go," she said.

What she's hoping for now is a fall with less frustration.