Fall session smoother than last Spring, but looking forward to in-person classes again
By Esmee Halsted
With the COVID pandemic still lurking across the country, gatherings and large groups are still unsafe. This equates to schools across the country choosing remote/ online learning instead of in-person classes. Counting from last spring, Gilpin School started off with remote learning. Gilpin kids had a mixed reaction to online school then. Let’s see what they think of online school this fall.
Compared to last spring, this fall went much more smoothly, according to students. Gilpin students feel that the staff was better prepared, which of course is expected since nobody was prepared for the coronavirus. They also noted more organized schedules and teaching. In fact Cassidy Wood, Junior, explained, “This year it seems better because the teachers and students were more prepared for online teaching and classes.” Gilpin incorporated a block schedule and created a clear plan. As for the alternative online options, Ashton Turkaly, who is registered on Colorado Digital Learning Solutions, shared that the program was very hard, but a little more organized compared to Gilpin online last fall. Elementary students Devyn Hulin also noticed a positive change: “It’s better because they are better at technical things.” Altogether, compared to last spring, as Jimmy Immordino, Junior says, “Compared to last spring? So good. Much better.” Thankfully, school this fall is better for students and staff, comparatively.
Fall of 2020, first day of school, was unique for Gilpin students since it was virtual. In fact, the normal start-up for the first month was unusual. Jimmy Immordino shares how starting up was for him: “Starting school online, school was pretty easy. Just like starting normal school, I’m just not really there. Took me a second to wrap my head around that.” Still, online learning is different from starting up normally in some ways such as communication. As Cassidy Wood, Junior, points out, “It was harder than expected to start online because of the communication between students and teachers compared to in school.” On top of starting off in an unusual way, students have had other challenges as well.
Many students are struggling academically and with mental health at this time. School is a sanctuary for many kids: a time to see friends, get away from home, and get the help needed for school work. There are many concerns from students. Destiny Garcia, Junior, highlights these concerns when she says, “Online school is awful, most people have little to no motivation at all and I feel that all the time. It’s just not fun at all anymore. I can’t focus too well anymore either. It’s like the work is just too lengthy and boring. There’s nothing to gain except a good grade.” Student Ashton Turkaly, Junior, had a similar experience, “There is a massive amount of school work to do and it’s hard to get done on time. Math is impossible to do online and resources are limited. Overall it sucks.” For Elementary students Devyn Hulin, her experience is much different. Her thoughts about online learning are rather positive. When asked about what it was like doing school work online she said, “Amazing, because you can stay in your pajamas all day!” Students overall seem to be struggling, though of course there are a few perks to online learning.
Not only have students’ school lives been interrupted, their social lives have been too. COVID-19 prevents students from gathering in close proximity and comes with other caveats. Still, some students are able to socialize online or with safety procedures. In fact, “The only time I ever socialize is online.” Devyn Hulin, an elementary student, also uses an online tool. She has adjusted to socializing by learning how to use email. Socializing with classmates becomes a lot more difficult as a new student. Sasha who recently transferred to Clear Creek High School explains, “It’s very hard to socialize online. Especially when starting a new school. People don’t really do online school to socialize, they just go to learn and then they socialize with their friends outside of class.” Students are finding new ways to socialize, but that does not change the fact that it is difficult at this time.
Online learning this fall has been an experience. Just like last spring, the administration, staff, and students worked together to create a learning environment. Although online school this fall was comparatively better, an online format is very hard for students to handle. Starting off online is much different than most years, yet the school overcame the challenge. Of course, students’ social lives were also affected by the virus, but it seems they are finding innovative way to adapt. Luckily students will be back to school on Monday, September 21st.