School today. At home and online.

School+today.+At+home+and+online.

After all extracurricular activities were canceled the day before, students were already anticipating what would happen next. On Friday, March 13, 2020, all Oak Grove schools were shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Students were excited to get an extra three weeks of spring break but were disappointed by the news that quarantine would be extended through May, and they would now have to attend online classes. A week later, the California Department of Education made the difficult decision to close all public schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Now students have to adjust to meeting their teachers via Google Meets and doing all of their work over the internet. Some students prefer this over normal school and some would rather sit in an actual classroom.

“We don’t have to do work on paper so it’s easier to do some assignments,” says Abigail Jimmy, a seventh-grade student at AdVENTURE STEM who is currently doing distance learning. “We can also stay home in our pajamas,” she points out. That is the upside of attending classes online at home, while other students prefer going to class five out of the seven days of the week.

Chloe Nguyen, also a seventh-grader at AdVENTURE STEM, doesn’t share the same views as Abigail. “I don’t like online school and would rather attend physical school. Doing online school makes it much harder to focus and learn.” On the other hand, she says, “I don’t like doing physical work, like on paper.” So there are some ups and downs with this new process, but just as it’s not easy on the students, it’s just as difficult on teachers and staff who moved to online instruction over the weekend.

My mother, Jessie Lockard, works at Baldwin Elementary School, and she meets with her preschool class once a week. For her, it’s more difficult trying to handle her class of her ten preschoolers and three other teachers, let alone on a Google Meet call. To keep them engaged, they have to make more interactive activities that students can do at home without their teachers’ help.

When the Governor, Gavin Newsom, decided that all California would be closed down, he also made sure that kids who relied on school for food and didn’t have learning materials at home still got what they needed. Schools gave out free school meals and Chromebooks to students who needed them.

A worldwide pandemic isn’t the optimal setting for most people, including students. Not all like it but most are starting to adjust to the new environment online. Some students and teachers are hoping for a normal 2020-2021 school year but no one can assure anything or know when things are going to get better.