Education and School During Quarantine Update

Education+and+School+During+Quarantine+Update

Kyley Fishman, Head Editor/Chief

Online learning has now gotten its moment to shine in the upcoming week of April. 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, school districts all over the world have been shutting down their schools and non-essential events such as sports, parent meetings, art performances/showcases, etc to protect both faculty and students from the virus. After seeing the same four walls everyday, on top of dealing with social isolation, it’s understandable for anyone to go a little crazy. 

This reality of students being unable to continue their education has driven districts to resort to online education. Platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Google Hangout are especially prevalent as a source of online conference meetings for students to meet with their teachers. Ironically, I guess this generation’s nickname can actually be “Zoomers.” 

With the Garfield County School District, school will begin again on April 20th. Since the beginning of April, optional ungraded schooling has been offered to students within the county. However, next week, schooling will begin as normal, just within the comfort of home. 

 

For the AP students: 

Since March 25, the college board has been offering free online seminars for Ap students, delivered by outstanding AP teachers from across the country. And since April 13, the APClassroom website has also offered an optional student practice, where students can practice free-response questions that pertain to their chosen course. Along with those opportunities, certain universities are also offering college level online classes even high schoolers can be a part of. To view the youtube AP videos, click here

  • Exams will be given May 11-22. For more information on when your test will be, go onto the APClassroom website
  • Makeup test dates will be available June 1-5 

Most of the exams will hold one or two free-response questions. The exams will be able to be taken on any device a student has access to. The student will also be able to hand write it and submit a photo response of the question. 

  • For most subjects, there will be a 45 minute time limit, with an additional 5 minutes to submit the response. The student will need to be in the APClassroom 30 minutes before the exam to get set up. 
  • Certain courses, such as Art and Design, Drawing, etc, will have until May 26th to submit their full portfolios
  • Students taking world languages for an Advanced Placement class will consist of two spoken tasks consistent with free response questions. To continue learning your chosen language, or if you have a general interest in learning a language, Rosetta Stone is offering 3-month free access to students to continue their language education 

Many parents, as well as students, are concerned on how to address the topic of potential cheating, due to the notes being in the same room as the student. Like many college-level exams, this year’s AP exams will also be open. To learn more about the security measures the college board will be taking to ensure students aren’t copying directly from textbooks or the internet, you can learn more here.  

As a soon to be senior, juniors are also worried about how their SAT’s and ACT’s will play out. The SAT and ACT exams have both been cancelled, making students question when and where they will be taking them. Starting in August, Collegeboard will begin to offer weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the 2020 year. For juniors who haven’t yet taken the test this year, they will have early access to registration for the August, September, and October administrations. An email will be sent out in May that will have registration dates. 

In the unlikely event that schools don’t open this fall, the SAT will be administered through a digital exam. Just like the AP exams, it will also be used for colleges the same way as if it was proctored at the school. 

As normal, students will be stressed about their grades. Since the school is taking the online path towards education, grading for the rest of the school year will be looking different. 

Rob Stein has taken into consideration the families who are struggling with stable housing, employment, food security, access to healthcare, etc. 

“We do not want any student who is unable to participate or not able to participate fully in distance learning because of their individual circumstances to be penalized through grading,” Stein said in an RFSD Newsletter. “We understand that some students have special circumstances, and we will work hard to accommodate to those students’ needs.” 

The high school grade planning will consist of a pass/fail situation. Students are expected to complete 4th quarter online assignments and will get a pass/fail grade based off of the teachers grading expectations. Students who pass 4th quarter will receive a grade no lower than their grade at the end of 3rd quarter. The grade, however, can increase depending on the teacher’s evaluation and the 4th quarter work and exams. Students who fail 4th quarter will receive a semester grade one point lower than their 3rd quarter. 

Thankfully, the topic of continuing education has become less stressful and more doable thanks to the efforts the school district has put into making sure education happens. However, there is still a worry about how Covid-19 is impacting the school’s budget. 

Again, in response to the outbreak, the Colorado Department of Education has recently issued a budget update, advising districts “given the economic and budget forecasts available at this time, it may be reasonable for districts to plan for a 1 to 10 percent reduction in State Share payments.” In summary, it is unclear what the budget for the 2020-21 school year will look like.  

“By law, the budget must be adopted by June 30, giving us a very short time frame to develop a thoughtful plan,” Stein said in an enews RFSD newsletter. “We will be working to identify possible areas in the budget to cut under various funding scenarios for the next school year. We will work with school and department leaders and the interest based bargaining (IBB) committee to review options so that we are prepared in the event that we have to make hard decisions.

Fortunately, the district is in a strong financial position with healthy levels of reserves; this should allow us to soften the impact of the state funding shortfalls we are anticipating. In the event of funding cuts, we will make budget decisions to ensure we can continue to support our mission.” 

Despite the seemingly eternal public health crisis, there are still ways to be productive and thankful. Around the world, people have become more together, in spite of being separated. On social media, the popular hashtags of #stayhome, #healthyathome, and #alonetogether have been trending, connecting people and sharing quarantine experiences/stories. People have been going out of their way as well, helping to create masks, donating ski goggles for doctors/nurses, tenants skipping a month of rent, donations, and more. 

Even within our own community, there have been individual and collective efforts to support one one another. 

Community members have reached out to see how they can support meal delivery for our students or help in any way they can,” said Rob Stein. Countless staff members have worked overtime to come up with creative solutions to the new challenges presenting every day. We haven’t solved every challenge yet, but know that we are working creatively and collaboratively to support our students, staff, and families through this crisis. Everyone has a part in this–whether it’s staying home or serving on the front lines in an essential role–and we will get through this together.” 

To further lower the spread of Covid-19, here’s some helpful tips: 

  • Avoid touching your face. 
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw it in the trash, then wash your hands. 
  • Stay home as much as you can 
  • Sick? Call ahead 
  • Keep a safe distance (the most advertised spacing is 6 feet apart)