Homeschooling Help During a Pandemic

This past spring more than 124,000 schools closed due to the Coronavirus. Those closings affected 55 million students. Today Coronavirus continues to impact public schooling. Many families have chosen full-time online learning. This decision is presented. Rural communities like the Allegheny Mountain radio listening area with a set of problems suburban and metropolitan families don’t face. 

First being adequate access to high speed internet, and while this report won’t solve that problem in its totality: I can say that the Wi-Fi hotspot provided by MGW at the WCHG studio is still up and running. The second problem is access to local educational resources. The libraries in our listening area have reopened to the public with some restrictions. This has been very important to families taking part in virtual learning, but there’s more 

I’ve talked to Mrs. Lynn Swann, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Omni Homestead, about an educational initiative she spearheaded and a partnership that seeks to lead more students into science technology engineering and mathematics. 

Q: I was wondering if you’d like to talk about putting that educational  list together and what that was like for you?

A: It was a very worthwhile task. I wanted to find educational opportunities and other educational experiences that can be done in person safely or virtually. So, for example, we have the Garth Newel Music Center, an amazing facility, right here in BathCounty. While they are unable to do their concerts in person right now, they are doing their concerts via YouTube but before and after each concert, they will have commentary to give you insights into the music into the composers and into their processes. 

There’s also the new maple sugar trail in Highland County and the Green Bank Observatory across the border in West Virginia. So there’s a lot to do that can help keep these students engaged through these difficult times. 

I asked Mrs. Swann about the Postcards to Space program.

Lynn: As I was doing the research for these experiences someone mentioned Blue Origin and their postcards to space program. The child can design a postcard and the theme is supposed to be why do you think Earth needs space? Then they write or draw that vision on a postcard. You put your address on it, stamp it and then send it to the Kent Washington office. They will then put it on a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, send it to space and back stamped with a flown to space stamp and then send it back to you. 

We have a special box that was beautifully painted by Warren Woodzell a Bath County resident and incredibly talented artist. We’ve printed postcards for our guests but anybody can go online at Club for the Future and click on the link for postcards to space which is our first mission and download the template and the instructions for how to do it yourself and send it. 

Q: What led you down the path of wanting to help solve this problem for people?

A:  Well, I’m a mother, granted my children are older, but I have a lot of friends who are parents and a lot of friends and family who are teachers and I know they’re struggling that they want to do their best and I just feel like this is an opportunity for all of us to be more resourceful. So many institutions and organizations have pivoted their traditional offerings to offer things that are safe and just to really, expand and be there to support their community. I am very grateful to see so many people willing to help, but I also know that it’s hard on parents; they may not have time to do all of the research. Our list of local resources can be found at the Omni Homestead dot com under things to do. Just click on educational resources. 

The Omni Homestead is a business support of Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By

Danny Cardwell

Danny is the Station Coordinator for WCHG, and the host of our gospel and country hours on Wednesdays 10:00 am to noon. He and his wife Renee Cardwell live with a spoiled dog (Toddie) in Hot Springs. Danny is a Deacon at Piney Grove Baptist Church in Hot Springs. He operates and is a site administrator and featured writer for the website He has been a frequent contributor to The Hal Ginsberg Morning Show, All Politics Are Local, and Politics Done Right. Danny has tutored, lectured, and mentored at risk youth in churches, group homes, and inside the Virginia Department Corrections. He serves on the board of directors for Preservation Bath and chairs the Bath Community Hospital Patient Advisory board.

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