A Challenging Year of Learning Comes to an End


CREDIT: Brad Cook

Students boarding the bus after a day of on-campus learning.

Alex Roy, Staff Writer

   About two months after COVID-19 drastically changed the world, all the schools in the area distributed computers for online distance schooling. At the time, many students didn’t take school seriously and at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, it was announced that everybody who was passing their classes before online school started in March would ultimately pass the class. 

  Fast forward to this year, and we are ending the school year with hybrid on-campus learning and distance learning as an option for everyone. However, this school year many students have had to take online/distance learning  much more seriously, because grades are actually counting towards student GPA. 

 Last summer school district personnel and school administrators were able to better prepare for distance learning and the eventual move to hybrid learning back on campus. However, the constant use of technology and being online in a google meet for hours presented many challenges. 

 “Teaching was often an isolating and lonely experience.  Students usually don’t turn on cameras or mics unless they feel they have to, and I often felt like I was broadcasting a podcast rather than interacting with a class.” Simpson said.  “I try to make it fun, and show I care about the math and the students, but without their feedback, I struggle to know if it is working.” 

 As the COVID metrics improved and the vaccine was more widely available,  students were allowed to attend school on campus for a total of 2.5 hours in the afternoon starting in April. 

   “I liked in-person better because I got more hands on learning and it was way easier to get help,” junior Morelia Gomez said. 

   Many students and teachers like in person school more because of the directness between student and teacher. 

 “I like the direct interaction with students in person better, and feel I can do a better job of helping them with work and providing feedback when I can see them work in person,” math teacher Alan Simpson said.

   Hybrid, on-campus learning has impacted more than just interactions between students and teachers, things like basic conversations or asking for help on an assignment were all improved. It also impacted learning; internet and computer problems were common throughout the year with distance learning, but with hybrid learning students were able to navigate around those issues. 

 Distance learning online has had a huge impact on both students and teachers throughout the school year, which is why many were all too happy to go back to campus when offered the choice, although there are only about ¼ of the total student population on campus.

   Online school was a struggle to get used to but as people settled into it it made people realize what we were taking for granted like having teachers in the same room or being able to see friends and for many to see family everyday when we wouldn’t otherwise. 

   “I think it got us all focused on the thing that truly matters most, the health and well being of the students and families in our community, and of our staff,” Simpson said.