COVID-19 shifts learning environment

Pandemic promotes virtual option for learning

While junior Makenzie Davis attends school three days a week, she participates as a blended learning athlete. After the sixth month period of school being dismissed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Springdale Schools have given students the option of doing school face-to-face or blended learning. Many different learning precautions have been enforced in the building. 

“I decided to go blended because that was going to work best with my practice schedule and I know I would be much more productive if I can work on my own on the two days I’m not here,” Davis said. 

Davis is a part of both school cheer and Infinity Athletics cheer teams. For school cheer, she practices Monday to Friday from 6:40 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. Her club cheer practice times on Wednesdays are from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

According to a Google survey that was sent out to current students, 40.4% of students attend school five days a week, 30.5% attend two days, and 29.9% attend three days. However, recent issues have been occurring with attendance for students who are absent on days that they are supposed to be at school. Some students in the survey have said that when they missed, they completed their work at home online and that it was no problem to finish. 

 ”At times it is difficult to stay caught up on my work because although I like to do school on my own, I’m not a very motivated person to do school unless someone is telling me to,” Davis said. 

No group work has been assigned, all learning and assignments are computer based, and social distancing all have been enforced in classrooms. Due to social distancing, many online tools have been used for assignments and presentations. Some of these technology tools include Flipgrid, Zoom, Cloud Meetings, and MathXL. 

“I think teachers could check up more on the days I am not at school,” Davis said. “Just email me or something to make sure I don’t have any questions.” 

High school English teacher Erin Jones has taken great lengths to ensure her blended students have access to communicate with her. Some students say they learn better face-to-face with their teacher so they can ask questions in person instead of email. Though this school year is very different due to the pandemic, students and teachers are trying to make it as normal as possible. 

 “I have created videos of my teaching for students at home to watch. I also make sure that I utilize Google Classroom to publish all the materials and handouts, particularly models, that they will need to complete their tasks,” Jones said. “Finally, I use email as a tool for students to ask questions. I check emails until 10 p.m. each night.”