Teaching & Learning Photos

Struggling to Stay Connected on Maryland’s Eastern Shore as Teaching Moves Online

By Jaclyn Borowski — April 30, 2020 1 min read

As teachers across the country grapple with the challenges that come with remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, an elementary school teacher on Maryland’s Eastern Shore faces the added challenge of a lack of internet access at home.

Crossing from Talbot into Dorchester County, over the Choptank River, on April 28, 2020.
Karen Ruark, a third-grade teacher in Dorchester County, parks outside her elementary school, South Dorchester School, to take advantage of the school’s WiFi hotspot during the hours she’s teaching.
Ruark has spotty internet at her home on Hoopers Island in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
South Dorchester School, where Karen Ruark teaches third grade, sits empty on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, as education has moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As Ruark works from the parking lot of her elementary school, she’s often joined by her daughters, who are both in high school and need internet access to upload their assignments.
The route to South Dorchester School, where Karen Ruark teaches third grade, is lined with farms and single-family homes.
Dorchester County sits on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, just over the Choptank River.
A portrait of third-grade teacher Karen Ruark outside her elementary school, South Dorchester School, on April 28, 2020.
Despite the challenge of reliable internet, Ruark has been able to make contact with every single third-grader in her class.
A home along Route 50, the main route through Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has posted a series of signs thanking every industry of essential workers, including teachers, as seen on April 28, 2020.
Dorchester County is home to the University of Maryland’s Shore Medical Center. As of April 28, 2020, the county had seen 51 coronavirus cases and two deaths.

A version of this article first appeared in the Full Frame blog.

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