Looking Back At A Year of Virtual Learning

A Visual Journal Of Two Kids In Virtual School

Photography by Todd Bigelow/Contact Press Images

When Covid-19 resulted in schools being shuttered in March, 2020, I began photographing Erin Jundef and her two kids as they navigated a new pandemic life. Like others worldwide, their lives were thrown into disarray when schools were closed and the responsibility of education transferred, for all intents and purposes, to the parents.

Erin’s two, socially gregarious kids were suddenly isolated with one another and attending school on Zoom from their suburban Los Angeles home. PE was conducted in the family room, Math at the kitchen table and English in Erin’s home office. To say the Wifi was the only thing stressed beyond capacity was to ignore the obvious.

“Each day my first thought was I need to just get through the rest of the school year and all will be fine,” Erin said about her new role as teacher.

As the 2021-2022 school year begins and the Delta variant threatens to further disrupt in person learning, a look back at some of the virtual learning moments captured from the Spring of 2020 through Spring 2021.


Spencer in Math class from the kitchen table a week into virtual learning.

Brooklyn does her schoolwork one week into virtual learning as Erin works from her home office.

Erin helps her daughter with schoolwork while also managing communications for her employer.

Kindergarten teachers and aides wait for parents to pick-up paper bags full of schoolwork. It would be over a year before limited in-person classes resumed.

A tutor works with Brooklyn via Zoom to prepare her for a 3rd grade Math test. Brooklyn stayed in her pajamas, unicorn robe and slippers all day.

Brooklyn sees a friend when she returned to school to retrieve all of her work and property left when schools were closed suddenly.

After picking up a trash bag full of her daughter’s books, binders and personal belongings left behind when school closed, Erin waits for her daughter to catch up while walking home.

Spencer in the empty locker room at his middle school where he was told to clear out his locker. It had been two months, so he struggled to remember the combination.

Spencer was one of three students asked to submit a speech to be played during his middle school virtual commencement. He practiced before his mom recorded it in their kitchen.

Spencer throws his cap in the air after the home graduation her mother arranged for family only.

Erin takes her daughter, Brooklyn, to Target for back to school shopping. After being furloughed in April, Erin used a gift card provided to her plus a Target coupon but still paid over $50.

Brooklyn dances in her bedroom during Music class in Fall, 2020 where she learned to dance to a One Direction song.

For his virtual PE class, Spencer had to choose an online video workout from YouTube and clearly wasn’t happy with the options. Erin at work virtually from the couch with her video off after suffering a pinch nerve overnight.

Brooklyn during first period Home Room from her bedroom.

Brooklyn in class in November, 2020. Her brother attends high school in the bedroom next to hers and her mother works at her new job across the hallway.

Brooklyn’s class schedule hangs on her bedroom wall.

Spencer watches as his video workout uploads with the deadline minutes away. He was trying for extra credit for his PE class on December 18, the last day of his first semester as a high schooler.

With QR code in hand, Brooklyn prepares to leave for her return to in person classes in April, 2021, the first in over a year.

Erin kisses Brooklyn goodbye as she leaves to return to in person classes. Her brother was helping her with multiple bags.

One last hug from her brother, Spencer, as Brooklyn waits to enter school for the first time in over a year. Spencer was still in virtual learning from home for his high school.

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