Students education amid a pandemic

Students+education+amid+a+pandemic

Kevin Ashley, Staff Writer

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Covid-19 has rocked the globe on a level not seen in 100 years. Yet schools across the nation have reopened for the fall semester. From having in-person classes and trying to manage the spread of the virus, to having class entirely online and trying to make sure that all students have reliable internet access, the adjustments are plentiful. 

 

In early March, when COVID-19 first hit, the Wheaton-Warrenville Unit District  200 decided to follow in other school districts’ footsteps and shut down. The difficult decision forced teachers to transfer from traditional teaching methods to online teaching. Wheaton Warrenville South High School English teacher, Megan Davis, shared her experience using the new online format during the start of the pandemic.

 

“The initial transition was a little hectic and a bit terrifying,” Davis said. 

They had only a weekend to figure out how they were going to continue teaching students they had only two days to find a way to make it work. Trying to get all of one’s ducks in a row before Monday was a trying experience but the school was able to do it. The high school had the whole summer to figure out what they were going to do for the fall semester but they still faced some uncertainty.

 

“Initially we were going into a hybrid model… until a week and a half before classes started,” Davis said. 

 

They wanted to follow a hybrid model going into the school year, but before class started the CDC released new guidelines on how to properly have classes in person. Wanting to follow the CDC guidelines, they saw that in-person learning wouldn’t be practical. 

 

That still meant navigating the problems of ensuring students have the proper technology along with reliable internet access to accommodate online learning. 

 

“I have noticed that students in my Zoom classes this fall are more energized and grateful, which is different from the spring semesters uncertainty of will we come back or stay home,” Davis said.

 

 By having students attend classes online structure is brought back into their lives and given these rather uncertain times, some consistency is wanted by a lot of people.

 

Wheaton Warrenville South isn’t the only school doing well with online classes. Bartlett High School also saw positives come from online learning. The high school is part of the U-46 District (the second-largest district in Illinois) and had been fortunate enough to have received Chromebooks for their students only two years prior.

 

Bartlett High School Principal  Michael Demovsky said that in March they had some ups and downs, but not this semester. He reported attendance rates of 95%.

 

The school also not being a one-to-one learning environment was able to adapt in order to make sure that all students had a tablet or laptop so that they can come online smoothly. However, that doesn’t mean that all is going well. 

 

The students who were always nervous about going to class are doing rather nicely with the online format, he said, but students who enjoyed in-person learning are now taking a hit. It is a massive give and takes, but the school has done its best to have people’s needs met.

 

“There are students here that are thriving in the online environment, but there are also students on the other side of the spectrum,” Demovsky said.