Remote learning now vs. first semester


photo by Jack Rockwood

Students study IB Business Management in a virtual meeting with their teacher due to fully remote learning.

Jack Rockwood, Reporter

First semester and now the second semester have both started with students and staff in remote learning due to worrying trends in the coronavirus pandemic in Franklin county.

“Dr. Kellogg meets weekly with local health officials and experts to make the best possible decision given the most recent information available,” Principal Mike Hinze stated.

Overall, the ability of staff to teach students effectively has improved from the start of the first semester.

 “We have folks who had barely checked an email before March 2020,” Hinze stated. “To go from that to where we are now is incredible and evidence of the level of commitment we have here at South.”

“I think there is definitely a lot less confusion,” English teacher Sarah Detrick stated. “Teachers have more practice in setting things up digitally and know what works and doesn’t work.”

“Teachers have been able to use their ‘Best Practices’ during the second semester remote teaching time,” math teacher Tim Bates stated.

Even with more experience in remote teaching, teachers are still expressing concern over some challenges. “Many students just don’t log in or do any of the work during remote weeks,” Detrick stated. “It’s really hard to move forward with the curriculum when students have not engaged with any of it.”

Another challenge Bates stated, “Discovering new ways to present material while in remote learning.” He cited more practice and collaboration with other teachers to be a good way to overcome this challenge.

Some students also experienced different challenges in remote learning. One such student is Senior Haylee Glover, who stated, “My biggest challenge in remote learning is making sure I communicate with my teachers.”

Senior Chuck Williams also faces the challenge of, “keeping up with work” in remote learning.

Teachers were also happy to return to blended learning. “Most want to return simply to see their students again,” Hinze stated. 

“We also know that having kids in person is certainly better, even if it does double/triple our work,” Detrick stated.

Although teachers are doing better now than they were during the first semester, students are split, with some doing better, and some not. 

“I’m more comfortable with the teachers; and with college stuff done, I’m more relaxed,” Williams said. 

“I am doing about the same as I was in the beginning of the first semester, no better or worse,” Glover stated. 

Another student who feels this way is Senior Andrew Jones, who said, “With my new classes not really; but with the same classes that I had last semester, I am doing about the same.”

Overall, students and staff are excited and eager to get back to blended learning. “Our students’ grades are better during blended learning. Students turn in work at a much higher rate and are generally more engaged when they are here, with us,” Hinze stated.

The pandemic hasn’t just forced students to learn remotely, it has pushed back and canceled school sports games, and other events such as scholars night.

Regarding how coronavirus has affected school events, graduation will be held on Saturday, May 29, and reservations are still for the Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, Hinze said. 

There is still uncertainty around if the ceremony will be normal like years past. “I hope we can make that happen this year, but we just don’t know yet,” Hinze stated.