Students adjust to extended online school

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Photo courtesy of @RedKnightBioMed

Biology teacher Mr. Mark Peterson caught up with his biomed student in a live group chat on Google Meet.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, many schools including BSM have taken their curriculums to online school days.

Instead of coming into class at a specific time every day, students now must log on by noon every day and complete what has been assigned to them on PowerSchool Learning. Though BSM has had online school in the past, the time period that students will have to take classes online, at least through April, is unprecedented at BSM and can be a sharp contrast from a student’s normal school day.

Without the structure of a school day, tackling all of the work for a day can be a difficult task, even in the way students get started and what order they do their work in. “I do [my classes] randomly. I mainly go from most work to least amount of work, but if most of my classes have even amounts of workload, then I just go about my regular schedule,” junior Nick Marinaro said.

Right now, it doesn’t matter what order students do their online classes in, but BSM students have different strategies on how they go about their day. “I go by my order of classes: 1-8 and keep everything in order, so I can stay organized,” sophomore Tyler Zachman said.

Students shared how while completing work for school, it’s not the classwork that’s the problem, it’s the attention span. “It’s much harder to focus. No teachers or students are here pushing me to do my work, so I am reliant on myself to stay focused,” Zachman said.

While due dates and time periods help Zachman stay up on his work and get it done. Marinaro uses podcasts like “Pardon My Take” or “Joe Roganto,” stay focused while getting through his work. “The workload I’ve gotten online is a different type of challenge than normal school days, because while the work may be less, staying dedicated is a much more difficult task,” Marinaro said.

Tests are another area students have been forced to adjust as well, no longer having the option to take them in class and on paper. Teachers now use Google Forms and PowerSchool Learning Assessments to administer tests. While many that are open note, some teachers allot only a certain amount of time in which to take the test. “The tests are pretty similar material wise, and I don’t feel the pressure of a normal test, which I like a lot more,” Zachman said.

To maintain a sense of connection without being able to be face to face, teachers have office hours which allows for students to go on Google Meet with teachers. “I’ve been trying to Google classroom it every day and check in with a new teacher everyday, so I know that I’m doing the curriculum correctly,” Zachman said.

However, Mason Baldwin, another sophomore at BSM, said he uses Google Meet to talk to his teachers only sparingly. “I stick to the work assigned to me on PowerSchool, and pretty much just go onto my teacher’s office hours when it’s required of me,” Baldwin said.

For the current situation we’re in, online school is definitely beneficial, but lessons aren’t the same online, and I’m worried it will be tough to readjust to school while maintaining a strong sense of what we learned online.”

— Nick Marinario

Compared to a normal school day, most BSM students are able to finish their work quicker than the 6 hour and 40 minute normal school day at BSM. Though it depends heavily on focus and workload. “I spend around three hours on my work each day, but if I could stay motivated and on task it definitely could be an even shorter school day for me,” Zachman said.

Marinaro has a much heavier task, but still is able to finish faster than a normal day at school. “On average, block days are significantly less, so they are around 5 hours. Normal school days with all classes can be over 6 hours, but I dedicate myself to finishing all my work and could see it being shorter for others,” Marinaro said.

Already with a week and a half of online school under student’s belts, students have adjusted to their new school experience until at least the end of April. “I’m happy with how learning online has been going, but I’m at the point where I want to come back to BSM,” Baldwin said.

Online school on PowerSchool Learning has filled the void of learning during a time where COVID-19 has kept students confined to their houses, but many students are already wishing to return to the school day they are accustomed to. “For the first part of the break, I enjoyed fitting everything I wanted into my day. However with such a long break, I’ve started to miss seeing my friends on a daily basis, and I am worried about retaining the information I’m learning now. For the current situation we’re in, online school is definitely beneficial, but lessons aren’t the same online, and I’m worried it will be tough to readjust to school while maintaining a strong sense of what we learned online,” Marinaro said.