Students virtually jump into the 2020-2021 school year

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Photo by Bella Godfrey

Fully online students use technology to their advantage. Junior Bella Gatcliffe during a Google Meet interview.

Bella Godfrey, Online Editor

Freshman students have unexpectedly begun to enter high school somewhat virtually. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all students continue to deal with the unfortunate circumstances of our world today. 

Distance learning is the most restrictive type of learning. This is a contributing factor to what makes being a member of the class of 2024 community difficult during these times. 

“It was like we were just moving in. We had all of our social lives and social needs, the freshmen this year don’t have the same social interaction and normal introduction we had,” junior Bella Gatcliffe said. 

Multiple new tools and resources have been designed for the online learning option. These are designed to make students feel much more connected to teachers and other class members. Teachers now have new technology enhancements such as Zoom, FlipGrid, and Mote to continue to improve classes.

English and AVID teacher Ing-Mari Ryan said, “Now that we have last spring behind us, we know what and how to do things better. Teachers just got the enhancements to their Zoom accounts and now can include breakout rooms in their synchronous lessons.

The district’s ability to implement required and recommended protocols from the state’s standards is monitored. This way, safety is monitored efficiently.

Guidance counselor Becky Hopper said that thinking about safety, the new rules and procedures are completely necessary. And the one-way halls get everyone a lot more steps during the day. 

Because this is all new to everyone, there are so many unanswered questions. In the school setting, protocols are trying to keep things low stress. Class sizes are significantly smaller allowing for a much less natural environment.

Now that we have last spring behind us, we know what and how to do things better.”

— Ing-Mari Ryan

“It’s awkward, clearly, for obvious reasons with the masks, and we can’t do a lot of the movement that we would do. And you know, it’s stressful, because there are a lot of unknowns,” Ryan said. 

The way students have entered high school this year has been altered. Administration is implementing many new procedures to smooth out the transition. Freshman students have been given multiple helplines to make the change as easy as possible. Even with this, the change is a new factor for the young adults. 

Freshman Maddie Elzen said she “didn’t know what to think, the high school is so much bigger than the middle school and I have to admit I’ve gotten lost a few times.”

For distance learners, the learning model is designed for students to be much more independent learners. The material is as close as possible to the in class work. Although, this is not a guarantee. 

“I’ve struggled staying focused at home while doing my schoolwork,” Elzen said. “ I feel like having a longer time to turn in assignments would be helpful. It’s definitely a change.” 

No one would pick the current state of affairs in our world, but given that this is our reality, I feel we have a great job of trying to address the needs and wants of our community. I think we are working very hard to provide opportunities for learning and growing for our students,” Hopper summarized.