Pasadena family with 7 children face special hurdles with education

The Messersmith family has seven children - four girls and three boys. They have all stayed home since March amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Messersmith family in Pasadena has seven children - four girls and three boys. They have all stayed home since March amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I really miss seeing my friends and my teachers and seeing their smiles," said Hayley Messersmith.

With schools closed and the kids ranging from 2-15 years old, mom Ashley Messersmith has become teacher to multiple grade levels.

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Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner announced Monday that the upcoming school year will not start with students taking in-person classes.


"It's been difficult. You know the two little ones, they'll throw fits and scream and cry when they're all trying to do their school work," said the mother of seven.

Messersmith says the older girls have lessons online with help from their teachers.

"It's been the three elementary school kids that have really needed all of my attention, so I've had to put all my energy and focus on them," said Messersmith.

She said they've had to find new ways to learn, including planting a garden to incorporate science. Messersmith said she tries to fold in education into everything they do at home.

Milestones, such as Shelby's graduation from 8th grade, was celebrated with a car parade. It's been a time of adjustment for the whole family. There's also no more baseball for three of the kids.

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Many parents are split over whether their kids should continue with distance learning or return to the classroom when schools are back in session in the fall.


"I do volleyball and basketball, so I don't know what that will be like when I go back to school," said Shelby Messersmith.

Will they go back to school? It's a question many parents are tackling.

"Do you risk it and send them and get them to wear masks, or keep them home and know they're 100% protected?," said Messersmith.

The mom-of-seven says the Pasadena Unified School District is allowing 100% online learning and that's what they've chosen. With one child with asthma, the Messersmith family feels the risk was too great to return to the physical classroom.

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The Orange County Board of Education on Monday approved a proposal recommending that schools reopen in the fall without a requirement for masks or physical distancing.

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