ARIZONA NEWS

Gilbert parents of 12 manage online learning during COVID-19 pandemic

Mar 16, 2021, 4:55 AM | Updated: 2:58 pm

 

This story is part of KTAR News’ “Pandemic in Arizona: One Year In” special report on 92.3 FM, online and our app.

PHOENIX — Many Arizona families had to adjust to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. But one Gilbert family had to transform their entire house into a school so 11 of their kids could learn from home.

“I think we went into it trying just to have the best attitude we could and do what we could with what we had,” Kate Hursh told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Kate and George Hursh have 12 adopted children, ranging from 5 to 14 years old. All but one are in school. They attend four different schools within Gilbert Public Schools and started out the academic year doing online learning.

“At first we tried everyone at our kitchen table,” Kate said. “We have a really large kitchen table that can seat all 14.”

They also had a few desks in other parts of the house and even somewhat of a principal’s office.

“If you weren’t doing your work when you were supposed to be doing it, then you got to come and sit in mom and dad’s room and do it with a little bit more supervision,” she said.

The schools provided all the kids’ laptops, but there were issues with the internet.

“The Wi-Fi was a big challenge for us,” Kate said. “As you can imagine, 11 online simultaneously — my husband trying to work from home and do his Zoom calls. At points in the day, we were like, ‘Okay everyone needs to log off right now because it’s really important dad has a job.”’

Kate and George tried boosting the internet speed multiple times, but there was only so much they could do.

Another challenge was keeping the kids engaged, despite teachers putting forth great lesson plans. It was tempting for the kids to go off and play games.

After a few months of online learning, the Hursh kids transitioned to hybrid learning and alternated the days they attended classes in person. They’ve been back in the classroom full-time as of Feb. 1.

“Now that they’re in person and able to have a little bit more accountability for actually doing the work at the school, things have improved dramatically,” Kate said.

Lizzie Hursh, Kate’s 13-year-old daughter, said seeing her friends and teachers was what she missed the most about going to school. She also feels like she’s learning more now that she’s able to be on campus.

“The online schooling was a little difficult for me because some of the assignments our teachers assigned to us was confusing, and they weren’t there to explain it more,” Lizzie said.

Kate has only been notified once that one of her children might have been exposed at school to someone who had COVID-19.

“This tells me the safety measures that they have in place are working,” she said.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Blake Masters, candidate for U.S. senator from Arizona, appears with former President Donald Trump ...
Kevin Stone

Trump reportedly delays plan to endorse Masters in Arizona’s US Senate race

Donald Trump is reportedly tapping the brakes on a plan to endorse venture capitalist Blake Masters in Arizona's GOP Senate primary race.
13 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
Jayme West

Phoenix police searching for fire starters from 2020 and armed would-be robber

A Phoenix business was set on fire in July 2020 and police are looking for two suspects caught on camera.
13 hours ago
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and other senators speak to the press about a bipartisan infrastructure package...
Kevin Stone

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona makes Time list of most influential people for 2022

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was named to Time magazine’s 2022 list of the world's 100 most influential people.
13 hours ago
(Screenshot via ADOT Webcam)...
KTAR.com

Westbound US 60 reopens in Tempe after weekslong repair work

Traffic returned to westbound U.S. 60 in Tempe on Sunday night, after a closure to repair damage caused by a water main break.
13 hours ago
(Screenshot via ADOT Webcam)...
KTAR.com

Fatal crash closes Interstate 17 in north Phoenix for hours

One person was killed and others were injured in a multivehicle crash that closed northbound Interstate 17 in Phoenix early Monday.
13 hours ago
Follow @GriseldaZetino...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
By Dr. Richard Carmona

Now’s a great time to receive your COVID-19 vaccine

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, now’s the time to join many other of your fellow Arizonans who are doing so right now. No one will criticize you; there is no shame. In fact, you’ll be welcomed with smiles and open arms!
Gilbert parents of 12 manage online learning during COVID-19 pandemic