NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As thousands of students head back to school virtually this month, teachers and parents are grappling with how to keep kids focused and engaged.

For many, it means classroom rules are now being enforced at home, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Tuesday.

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Among the many dizzying challenges remote learning presents this school year, parents say keeping their kids distraction-free has been a struggle.

“My son who is a little bit old, his phone was ringing during class,” parent Ed Rerisi said. “One of his classmates was calling his cell phone, which is obviously not appropriate, and if that was happening in school, there would be an end to that immediately.”

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With so many temptations students face at home, teachers are trying to figure out how to strike the right balance between providing structure and flexibility this fall. Students returning to class are adapting to new rules, from sitting in front of a distraction-free backgrounds to having their camera on at all times.

“You always have to be on mute, and you can’t spam in the chat and you can’t be in like a classroom without a teacher,” said student Julia Griffiny.

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Parenting expert Amanda Mushro said parents have an important role to play as well in setting the right tone.

“You should still have a schedule set for your kids where they’re getting up. They’re able to get themselves ready. They’re able to put on a nice shirt. They’re going to fix their hair. Even though this is virtual, we still want to treat it like it’s a regular classroom day,” Mushro said.

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For mother Roberta Griff, it means limiting distractions.

“We try to put her laptop on a table with nothing else on it, just to kind of focus on the learning that we are doing at school,” Griff said.

Experts say if your child still has extra energy to burn before class begins, a little morning exercise can help them refocus.

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