For the past five months, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way students learn and interact with teachers in the academic world. With technology and virtual tools to help students achieve their goals, special education has seen both the positive and downsides of learning remotely. 

Schools in Santa Clarita and across California are starting to outline plans to safely allow students to return to classrooms. Maria Alba, a behavior intervention assistant for the William S. Hart School District describes the switch from in-person learning to virtual learning as a real challenge: 

“It has been a wild ride,” said Alba. “Working virtually has brought a lot of challenges when working with students who need behavioral support. There has been a lot of technological issues that have made things frustrating and discouraging, but overall, students are doing well and acclimating to the changes.” 

One of the challenges presented in remote learning is patience. Especially in a pandemic, working with students requires assistants to keep up with new interventions and acquiring teamwork to assist others. 

“In this job, you will learn something new every day, so it’s important you stay caught up with new interventions and articles applying these interventions,” said Alba. “Since ABA (applied behavioral analysis) is science-based, there are a lot of terms and effective treatments that have been proven to work.” 

Alba has been working in the field for seven years. She has experienced a slowdown at work due to the pandemic. 

“With the pandemic, it has slowed down because online classes last until 12:30 p.m. Since I work eight-hour shifts, it gives me a lot of time to prep and catch up on article-reading related to ABA,” said Alba.

With remote learning likely to continue through Spring 2021, safety for students and instructors is the top priority heading into the school year. 

“Our staff misses seeing the students and interacting with them,” said Alba, “but safety is the number one priority.” 

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