Rutgers students with children discuss remote learning

Jason Moore, the director of the Office of Transfer and Non-Traditional Students, said he wants to see students with children among the Rutgers population succeed despite working from home.
Photo by PxfuelJason Moore, the director of the Office of Transfer and Non-Traditional Students, said he wants to see students with children among the Rutgers population succeed despite working from home.

At Rutgers, students with children are learning to adapt to remote instruction amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Jason Moore, the director of the Office of Transfer and Non-Traditional Students, said he wants to see students with children among the Rutgers population succeed despite working from home.

Moore said he understands that this difficult situation poses a lot of issues for students and said he wants to try and steer then into a philosophy of the three N’s.

“They want something that’s normal, something that’s natural (and something that’s) necessary,” Moore said. 

He said his office aims to help these students manage their intersecting identities of being full-time students, parents and earners. 

Anne Newman, the associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said her office also aims to help students with children. 

“The Dean of Students office is available to help those students who need assistance with balancing remote instruction and their personal responsibilities,” Newman said. 

In addition to helping students with their remote learning and issues that may present themselves academically, Newman said her office has provided students with $200,000 in financial support once the pandemic hit. 

Zachary Cuellar, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, has two children who are in the first and second grade said challenges began when they came home once the pandemic hit. 

“(My children’s schools) sent home each kid with a packet of paperwork and was like, ‘okay here’s what you need to teach them now,’” Cuellar said.

On top of being a full-time student and working for the Department of Defense, he and his wife had to take on the role of being a teacher for their two kids. He said it is important that he and his wife watch over his two young ones so that they do not fall behind. 

Heidy Guzman, a School of Arts and Sciences and Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy senior, said before the pandemic, her routine was much more effective. She would wake up, take her daughter to school and go to Rutgers afterward. She said it is not as smooth as it once was since working remotely.

“Now it’s basically wake up and try to be as productive as possible, while also being at home and teaching my daughter how to read and write. Trying to keep up with both of our schoolwork is very difficult,” Guzman said. 

Now that she and her daughter are both doing virtual learning, Guzman said she feels like her education is not what it could be. She said working from home causes a lot of issues because she has to make sure her daughter is doing her work correctly. 

“I’m currently taking five classes virtually and things get confusing. I feel like we both aren’t learning to our full potential and getting all the information and lessons we need,” Guzman said. 

Laurie Rullis, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior, said when she was at school before the pandemic, there was little time she had with her two children ages 11 and 16.

“In my absence, my 16 year old usually took care of making a quick dinner for herself and her sister and helped my younger daughter with schoolwork,” Rullis said.

She said it was normal for her and her children to be separated most days, but since being back home, Rullis said she realized how much time she missed with her kids. 

“I realized how much of my children's life I was not able to enjoy with them because we were all out of the house so long each day,” she said.

Rullis said there are still challenges that come with online learning in a full house, including issues with WiFi, homeschooling and maintaining focus.