Students nationwide are falling behind. While virtual learning might be considered safer, it's also causing many to struggle. Teachers say students tend to either succeed or fail, with very little middle ground.
"You have your very independent kind of self-motivated kids that are going to keep trucking along are going to keep pushing through, but other students that maybe struggle a little bit more, that like someone to give them encouragement or to kind of push them on and be like, 'Yeah, that's right, keep going,' those kids are really struggling with not having the face-to-face instruction daily," said high school teacher Nancy Sanders.
A 25-year classroom veteran, Sanders says she's never seen this level of failure.
"For students that struggle, it makes that struggle even bigger and so a lot of times those kids just tend to give up and shut down. I feel like there are a lot of kids that are just falling through the cracks and that really concerns me," Sanders told CBN News.
The Martin family is a prime example. Their son, Dorian, struggled with remote learning from the start.
"It really hurts as a parent when you have to ground your child because you know if they were going to school they would be in class, they would be participating, they wouldn't have delayed assignments, they wouldn't have the tardiness. And our oldest went from an A, B, honor roll, to F's and D's," said Dorian's mom, Dawn Martin.
Dorian has ADHD, and even with medication, the virtual learning model feels impossible for him.
"He's just broken down in tears and he's like, 'I hate this, I hate school, I hate virtual learning, I just want to go back to being in person,'" Martin explained.
Clarissa Price majors in chemical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She's used to excelling in school. As a deaf student, however, she found herself failing one of her key classes after switching to virtual learning.
"One of my professors would always be behind on getting the videos uploaded so that they would get processed in time for me to have captions on them. So I was sitting there having to wait two days for a lecture because the captions weren't available," Price said.
Unable to keep up, Price failed the course, which was required for advancement in her major. Fortunately, the school decided to offer it again in the Fall, this time in person.
"I got a B the next time around. It was my highest grade," Price said.
According to a RAND Corporation report, students most likely to fall behind with virtual learning are those with disabilities, of color, and those who fall below the poverty line.
That's pushing schools to address these issues before students face long-term consequences.
In South Florida, the Palm Beach County School District sent out letters to nearly 175,000 students in K-12 not making adequate progress learning from home. The state, requiring schools to give parents the option to send their struggling child back to the classroom come Spring.
"When those students return, those parents who choose to have their students come back to face-to-face instruction, the school must provide additional interventions to re-mediate the loss of learning that has occurred," explained Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald during a press conference.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged schools to begin reopening, starting with elementary schools.
"Here's the plan: [a] phased-in, in-person learning strategy that would focus disproportionately on those youngest cohorts and those that are most in need," Newsom said.
So far, data suggests children are not major transmitters of the Coronavirus, especially in school settings. Still, states will expand safety measures and implement COVID testing to make people more comfortable about returning to the classroom.