MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — At Parkwood Elementary, kids have learned to count on their teachers.
But it's been challenging during the pandemic with many kids working from home.
"Our main focus is keeping the students engaged and just coming up with creative ways to teach our subject area online," art teacher Janel Maclean said.
Recently though, Ms. McClean had to brush aside her usual lesson plan.
"I was a little bit more panicked because I don't ever deal with a situation like this," she said.
By all accounts, 11-year-old Kaleb Greenough is one of Parkwood's better students. But on that day, he was late getting online for class after his grandmother had an accident.
"She walked over and she tripped because she can't hold herself that up for that long and she fell," recalls Kaleb.
Grandma Sherri Bell is legally blind, has a disability and is on kidney dialysis. When she fell, Kaleb was the only other person in the house.
"She didn't try to get up because I knew if she would have gotten up she would have hurt herself worse," Kaleb said.
Kaleb tried to call for help but the phone wasn't working. So, he logged into his art class.
"He was so calm and collected, but I could tell that he wanted to speak with me, so I just said, like 'Hey Caleb, what's up?'" Ms. Mclean said. "And he messaged on the chat, can you please call my mom for me?"
When mom couldn't be reached, Ms. Maclean called the school Principal and she joined the Zoom call.
"I was really focused on asking Caleb questions trying to really determine what the situation was," said Melissa Yount-Ott, Parkwood's Principal. "I needed to know if we needed to call 911."
As they waited for an ambulance, Caleb kept talking to his grandmother to let her know that help was on the way.
"He was so just kind with her," Ms. Maclean said. "And I could tell that she was stressed and upset as well but he was able to calm her."
After a few minutes, Caleb heard sirens but then saw the ambulance drive right past the house.
"And I saw a police car just driving by, and I had to run outside to wave him over," Kaleb said.
A short time later, the paramedics arrived and everybody took a deep breath.
"His confidence and his pride in the whole situation was just very, very impressive," said Yount-Ott.
We're happy to report, Grandma Sherri is doing OK.
And though Ms. Maclean can't wait for Kaleb and all her students to be back in class, in person, this was one time where distance learning passed the test.
"It was just really neat to see our community and our school come together like that to help him out., "she said.
Kaleb hasn't decided what he wants to be when he grows up but it's not surprising to hear, he wants to make a difference.
"Lawyer, policeman, fireman. I've gone mostly through everything," Kaleb said with a laugh. "I just want to help people."
One young boy and his teachers still talking about the day when virtual helped reality.
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