A virtual day in the life of a Mustang

A+virtual+day+in+the+life+of+a+Mustang

Ellie Geib, Co-Editor-in-Chief

As the 2020-2021 school year nears, students, parents, teachers and administrators will face a huge change due to the COVID-19 pandemic: virtual school. Just like everything else in life, change requires adjustment and an open mind in order to continue to move forward. There is much uncertainty and many questions about how this upcoming school year will work– What will a school day look like online? Will students have to be looking at a screen all day long? How will tests and quizzes be administered?

At the beginning of the school day all students, whether they are learning at home or in the school building, will log into their first hour class. From here, teachers will teach their lesson, and when finished, students will utilize the remainder of the time to complete classwork and homework. In other words, students will rarely have to be logged into Google Meet for a full class period (45 minutes). There will be a five minute break between first and second hour, and a 15 minute break between the remaining second through seventh hours. 

“Part of the idea behind longer breaks between classes is to give students brain and eye breaks, but also to give students learning in the school building a time where they can go outside and take their masks off,” Assistant Principal Jason Frink said. “Ultimately, our expectation is that a student is not going to be on Google Meet for 45 minutes for seven class periods a day.” 

Throughout the day, students will be encouraged, but not required, to turn on their computer cameras. If students do not choose to turn their cameras on, they will be required to participate actively in other ways. 

“Since we won’t have the opportunity for face-to-face interaction at the start of the school year, we encourage students to turn their cameras on so we can see each other’s smiles,” Assistant Principal Tama Salisbury said. “If students keep their cameras on, it can make everyone feel more comfortable with each other.” 

On Fridays, students will have time to work on their assignments, but will not have to log onto any of their classes. Teachers will be available to answer questions and assist students that are struggling, but there will be no mandatory Google Meet interaction on this day. 

Exams will likely still take place after the first semester, however they will look different than normal. Additionally, tests and quizzes may not be strictly multiple choice, rather short answer and project or presentation based.

Students in hands-on art classes like ceramics and jewelry will still be able to make projects and do work from home. In the spring, materials were distributed to students to be able to participate in the class, and this same method will be continued with online learning this school year. Similarly, science classes that require students to perform labs will modify experiments for students to understand from a distance. 

“There is not a lot that teachers can do for labs besides recording ourselves going through the procedure,” Biology Teacher Aja Kaylor said. “It may be hard for students to do experiments at home because of safety concerns and lack of materials. Students will still be able to process data and evaluate information, but it will be challenging to maintain the hands-on aspect of traditional in-school labs.” 

 

Traditions such as homecoming, school dances, and other school events may look different, but the Student Council is working to find ways to keep students engaged and filled with school spirit. Additionally, the hat and backpack policy are suspended as a result of COVID-19 and virtual learning. 

“Two disciplinary policies we are suspending during phase four of instruction are our hat and backpack policies,” Salisbury said. “Students will be able to wear their hats whether they are learning at home or virtually in the building. Also since we are no longer using lockers, students will be able to carry their backpacks if they are coming into the building to learn.” 

Although there are many changes being made for this upcoming school year, our teachers and administrators are making the best of the situation. Mostly everything is still subject to change, but we will make it through this year of uncertainty. The teachers and school community at Portage Central are dedicated to making the best of this situation and finding creative solutions to problems that arise. 

“There is no question this year will present challenges that we have not even thought of yet, but I am really excited about the creative solutions that people are going to have to things and how we will continue to push forward as Mustangs,” Frink said. “I have no doubt in my mind that there is no better place to have a shot at continuing students’ learning and success than Portage Central.” 

 

 

PC: Vermilion Today