Some Oregon families struggle to manage school changes in time of COVID-19

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Families right now are struggling to manage schooling changes with virtual learning, with many working parents trying to figure out how to help teach their kids at home.

Renate Garrison and her family have a unique story. Garrison has four kids, including one child who is autistic. She says it has been tough to keep her kids focused with virtual learning.

"Having them do all of their interaction on a screen is very difficult, and also having them keep their attention to a screen is difficult," Garrison said.

Garrison works in emergency management and says it has been busy with COVID-19. 

One of Garrison's twin 6-year-old boys in kindergarten has autism.

"He's able to attend a therapy center in the afternoon that has a simulated classroom setup," Garrison said. "And he thrives in that, he's done in-person simulated classrooms since, I want to say, April."

But Garrison says there are some difficulties when it comes to distance learning on the laptop.

Garrison also works for the City of Beaverton as an Emergency Management Office. She's been on the reopening team, managing many aspects of the COVID-19 response. On top of that, she says family tested positive for coronavirus this summer.

"It was a really odd juxtaposition to come down with it," Garrison said. "And I remember getting my test results on my phone and just showing it to my husband, I was like, can you believe it? There's a kind of stigma associated to having COVID and you don't really want to tell people because there's so much that's unknown about the disease and some people still treat you as if you have it, even though we've recovered.

Garrison says her family quarantined and luckily only had mild symptoms back in July. He says her outlook during all of this is to cherish what you have right now.

"I got to hear my son read a book," Garrison said. "It was amazing, he opened this reading app and, you know, it was just two-word sentences, but you know, I had that proud mama moment, kind of swelled up in my throat, like I wouldn't have gotten that if he was at school. So, there are so many unknowns and the days are really hard sometimes, but I'm just trying to find as much as I can the positive in it."

Garrison says she and her husband will be working alternating schedules to juggle being home with the kids.

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IBCNU

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