Trading notebooks and new school clothes for laptops, headphones and solid internet access. Right now, "back to school" looks and feels a lot different for so many Arizona families.
ABC15 is committed to getting you back to school safely and a big part of that is setting you and your family up for remote learning success.
Six-year-old Cayden McIsaac and his sister, 8-year-old Addison, were front and center for their first day of school at Higley Traditional Academy on Monday.
"It's a little bit hard because you have to unmute yourself and mute yourself and you have to look at a screen all day," said Addison.
"I want to go to school in person because I miss my friends and my teacher," said Cayden.
Their parents, John and Tracey McIsaac are doing their best to work from home, while providing a sense of normalcy and routine.
"In years past it's going out and getting new shoes, new clothes, and without having the expectation of doing that or need to do that, we didn't," said John McIsaac.
"It's pretty hard juggling them, baby, on a day-to-day basis we make it work," said Tracey McIsaac.
Heather Noto is principal of Arizona Connections Academy.
"There's lots of things to think about but I don't think there's any wrong way to do it," said Noto.
Noto has been with the online K-12 school for more than a decade and says virtual learning success is all about what works best for each individual family.
"It's definitely more hands-on when you're talking about K-5," said Noto. "We're talking about 6-8, middle school students, they also need some side-by-side, but they are not going to want you to sit next to them all day long, even if you want to."
Noto's other key takeaways include:
-Follow a daily schedule
-Set up a designated workspace
-Plan ahead as to how you will tackle assignments going into each week
"We tell our families this all the time: it's new, it's going to take a while to get into a groove that feels right for you and your family," said Noto.
Back at the McIsaac's home, the playroom now doubles as a school room. While they plan to send their kids for in-person instruction once it's safe, John and Tracey are taking it one day at a time.
"It's really just trying to set that mindset of, ‘Okay this is going to be a different routine than what we're used to,’" said John McIsaac.
"You kind of just have to take a deep breath and just hope that they're going to succeed, and whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, we'll hopefully find out," said Tracey McIsaac.