Daily routines adjusted due to COVID-19

How our school is adapting to the pandemic.

In order to keep the school clean and COVID-clear, science teacher Holly Haney prepares for a new school day using her Fresh 15 spray on each desk in her classroom. Haney then prepares a pile of paper towels for her students to grab as they enter her classroom. 

“The students wipe off their own desk after I’ve sprayed it,” Haney said, “and I encourage the students to use hand sanitizer.”

With multiple classes throughout the course of a school day, the need for sanitation is frequent. 

“One class leaves and then I spray the desk and that new class cleans the desks,” Haney said.

The pandemic has shifted the routine of not only teachers, but students. In an attempt to create a clean, socially distanced, learning environment, Springdale administration has allowed for blended learning. 

In the blended learning model, students attend school a limited amount of days per week. Giving the students an option between face-to-face or staying safe at home also allows for more spacious learning environments in the classrooms.

According to an anonymous Har-Ber student, blended learning has caused more confusion regarding assignments and little help is provided.  However, by  implementing blended learning, fewer students are in the classrooms at a time. 

Additionally, teachers have been asked to make seating charts. Doing so gives the teachers a visual of who was near a student in the case that student tests positive. Students remain in their designated seats the entirety of the period according to Haney. Because of this, there is little room for student interaction. In order to fix this issue, administration has encouraged the use of an interactive extension called PearDeck.

According to peardeck.com, the goal of the virtual learning utensil is to promote “active learning” and “formative assessment.” When using PearDeck, the students can answer questions and explore other students’ ideas without leaving their seat. This has become an essential addition to the new socially distanced domain. 

“PearDeck is not new,” Haney said. “I don’t know that I was the only one, but I started using it last year because I loved it.”

Many more teachers have joined Haney since the new model of learning has been implemented.  

“All the teachers are using it because, well, one, we’ve been told to,” Haney said, “and two, it’s a way to get the students to interact.”

The implementation of technology tools combined with the blended learning model have required students and teacher to adjust their teaching and learning styles. Wearing masks and maintaing social distance have also presented new challenges.  

“I understand wearing a mask, but staying six-feet apart doesn’t make sense if you’re wearing a mask,” senior Abbey Smith said. 

Junior Abby Wright wears a mask to keep her loved ones safe.

“I hate wearing a mask, but if it keeps me and my family safe then I’ll do it,” Wright said.

COVID-19 has affected many Springdale families as can be seen on the news. According to the healthy.arkansas.com, the Arkansas Department of Health released there are 69,449 confirmed cases as of Sept. 15. The ADH has advised that Arkansas citizens wash their hands for 20 seconds, wear a mask, stay distanced, and sanitize surfaces frequently. 

“I feel like we should have been [sanitizing] for many years because America is nasty,” Smith said.