By Beth Germano

BOSTON (CBS) – Learning pods have become a way for students to adjust to remote learning by taking their classes in a supportive setting with other students. It’s happening at a Dorchester community center that’s being run by director and parent Sharita Fauche.

“The children have been able to come to a safe environment, engage in remote learning and be able to concentrate on their learning despite the challenges remote learning brings,” Fauche tells WBZ-TV.

Twenty Boston school students are grouped by grade in three different rooms where Covid-19 protocols are followed. They are doing their lessons with their teachers and classmates on Zoom but in the pod they can log in, make sure they’re on schedule, and stay focused with the help of facilitators, some of whom are parents that are the driving force.

Learning pod at Dorchester community center (WBZ-TV)

“I get to be with friends here instead of being at home. I actually get to socialize here,” said fifth grader Annalise.

Parent Fabienne Eliacin has her daughter Leiya in the pod to help both her and her teacher as Boston starts the school year remotely. “The teacher is teaching 20 kids and Zoom but they’re not there in the classroom. It can be a little bit stressful for them,” said Eliacin.

Students like seventh grader Deborah Fauche say they’re feeling the challenge of remote learning. “You don’t get to see the teachers and have a teacher bond like real school,” Deborah said. “It’s hard to ask questions you can email or text.”

It’s the first learning pod in the city but it’s a concept that’s grown to at least a half dozen other sites as families who need to connect want to connect with support.

“It’s a lot of work creating a citywide pod network and give access to resources, access to training and technical assistance,” said Boston city councilor Julia Mejia.

Sharita Fauche said it’s challenging for students to be in front of the computer for most of the day. At the pod while students may be remote, they can feel connected to more than just the computer.

Beth Germano

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