Virtual Schooling Option

Livi Foraker, Reporter

In mid-March, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf implemented a mandatory quarantine for the citizens of the state in order to curb the dangerous spike in COVID-19 infections. Now, seven months later, schools have begun to re-open, but some students have chosen to remain all-virtual.

Teachers and administration enhanced the virtual pathway as a response for differing learning needs for each individual student.

Assistant Principal Chad Brindle said that “The learning platforms are about each student making a personal choice that fits his or her learning needs while also supporting the needs of the family unit.”

While the virtual option for learning has been in existence for some time, a few aspects were altered in order to tailor the demands COVID-19 has created.

Virtual students have a variety of ways to learn from home. The biggest change to accommodate virtual learning was that the school purchased Zoom licenses, so all teachers are live streaming their classes each period of the day.

Students at home can opt to join each class by following a specific code/link to their class’ meeting. Teachers wear microphones and share screens with students to attempt to share the in-class experience.

Another change was an increased and streamlined use of Google Classroom. Each teacher posts a weekly agenda at the beginning of the week for each of their classes. They create topics for each week, and put all materials, activities, assignments on Classroom for students to access and complete at home.

“I think that doing school online has made learning a lot easier for me. Overall, my grades are up in A’s and B’s. Of course, I struggle with some of the work, but it’s less stressful than when I had done public school,” said freshman Maura Kief. Kief also stated that being in the comfort of her home while working alleviates some of the stress and allows her to maintain a peaceful environment.

While many students can navigate this learning model with ease, the system presents a few negative qualities for students who need a person-to-person connection in order to retain the information.

Tayona Halsey, a virtual student and freshman, said that “keeping my grades up is a little bit of a struggle because getting up in the morning is difficult when you know you have to sit on a computer for hours a day.”

Staff of the school have noticed that the success of virtual students depends on their work and educational ethics.

“Success depends on the student’s work habits and the value they place on education. Our teachers are available to help when needed; however, students must ask for assistance just as those in the brick and mortar option must do,” said guidance counselor Joyce Marburger.

In addition to current changes, the students are also required to submit a Google Form every day promptly by 9 AM in order to record their daily attendance, consisting of the following: name, grade, access to the materials and the verification of the student’s school. Administration has created a document that lists the regulations for completing this necessary task.