Nathan Miller | Editor-in-Chief
Seven periods, five days, two weeks.
With Avon schools closed for two weeks after at least one student contracted the coronavirus, students have been told to complete e-Learning assignments in lieu of in-person schooling. These e-Learning assignments are to be posted daily by teachers.
AP Calculus teacher Anthony Record said he plans to use web-based seminars to carry on class as normal.
“Most of my e-Learning correspondence will come in the way of live webinars that I will present via ZOOM,” Record said. “During these live webinars, students will be able to ask questions over various problems within our notes and homework assignments.”
AP Literature teacher Andrew Johnson said the choices made during this time are constantly evolving with the situation, but his e-learning will focus a lot on discussion.
“I am trying to create scenarios where we can have virtual discussion, either via discussion boards or via an online meeting site,” Johnson said. “Students will still be reading at the same pace, writing for the same purposes, and receiving feedback with the same goals.”
Choir director Richard Gamble said the cancellation is uniquely challenging for the performing arts.
“Teaching choir online is sort of a joke – you can’t do it,” Gamble said. “We’re assigning e-learning work, including sending in recordings, memorization, et cetera, but the true work of creating a choir is accomplished in rehearsal.”
Gamble said this will disproportionately impact the younger singers.
“It will hurt the development of younger singers the most. The older singers are better able to practice on their own,” Gamble said. “The older kids can read music better.”
Ceramics teacher Sarah Fowler said she will have to combine and alter some of the assigned clay projects in her class after her students return. In the meantime, students will plan for their future projects.
“I was lucky enough to have recorded all of my demonstrations last semester, so I had students watch my demonstrations and complete sketches for that project,” Fowler said.
Fowler said flexibility is important in times like these.
“We understand that all students have different situations at home and are willing to get creative so that the students can still get the work done,” Fowler said. “teachers have also been asked to make parent and student contact to those families and students who have turned in little to no work.”
Some students worry e-learning will not be as good as in-person assignments. Junior Bella Rios, who has four AP exams in May, said she is concerned.
“I’m concerned with getting all the review time that I need in. I’m not scared of doing poorly on the exam because of lack of time,” Rios said. “I think I’m just scared that we won’t have enough time to review as in-depth as a lot of teachers and students want.”
Record shares his students’ concerns, but he said it’s something they can take care of.
“We can certainly overcome any negative obstacles this situation presents,” Record said. “The exam is distant enough for us to still have a good review and polish any concepts that the students may be confused about.”
Johnson said this shouldn’t pose a problem so long as his students are back by April 6, as is currently expected.
“We will be able to readjust our preparation for the test in the five weeks after spring break,” Johnson said. “If the quarantine period extends beyond that, then students will possibly miss out on some meaningful preparation.”
AP students, Rios included, will take exams the weeks of May 4 and May 11. In the meantime, Johnson said it is important students are not deterred from work.
“This may only be a brief moment in their lives,” Johnson said, “but this moment is still a part of the fabric of their development, and they should treat that time as importantly as if they were going to school normally. Employers and colleges won’t acknowledge a ‘COVID-19’ exception.”
Record said e-learning days may be somewhat beneficial to his students.
“This can be a great opportunity for them. It would give them a taste of what they might find at the college level where oftentimes an e-Learning scenario might take place,” Record said. “I think if students view this as a chance to learn a lot about themselves and how they best learn, they could use this information later on in college to help them be more successful.”
Rios said she is happy to try something a little bit different.
“I am absolutely loving being able to make my own schedule for the day,” Rios said, “but I do miss having in-class instruction and being able to work face-to-face with my teachers.”
Senior Chloe Gilmore is in a different boat. She said she would rather be at school.
“[My e-learning is] a lot of mindless stuff, so I don’t think I’ve actually retained any more information,” Gilmore said.
Difficulty aside, Gilmore said she thinks Avon made the right decision to cancel school.
“It’s important to know that you can’t please everybody,” Gilmore said. “This is in the best interest of the students and keeping them safe, so you can’t be mad about that.”
Gilmore said she hopes this decision will come with leniency from her teachers, however.
“I feel like the teachers are going to be pretty lenient once we come back because they know it’s difficult to keep up,” Gilmore said.
Rios said she thinks her teachers have struck a healthy balance when it comes to their workloads.
“I am able to stay on task and get all my stuff done normally before [noon],” Rios said. “We don’t get overworked, and [it is] enough we don’t get lazy.”
Record has been sure to remind students that that this is not a vacation.
“I told my students that if they treat these two weeks as a vacation, there is very little doubt that their grade will suffer,” Record said. “I would hate to see a student who worked very hard for the past nine months allow these 10 short days to determine whether or not they would receive credit for a rigorous college course.”
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