Thousands of students used to board busses, drive, or walk to school but now school halls stand empty and silent. COVID-19 changed everything and with that, a new challenge arose — that of maneuvering online classes.
Virtual classrooms are necessary but many have mixed feelings.
“Without a doubt (I enjoy) physical classes and being able to interact with all my students,” physics teacher Erick Ramirez said. “I would rather be in school with the students in the classroom any day, but (online classes are) necessary during the times we are in.”
This new approach to class inevitably brought change.
“Change is never easy but Mr. Acuna and the rest of the administration helped us tremendously with trainings on how to adapt to our current situation. Although there are minor bumps in the road I believe I am well prepared,” Ramirez said.
One issue with online classes is the lack of bandwidth for many, resulting in device disconnection often leading to missed information.
“To avoid all my connection issues I have been teaching from campus and it helps,” Ramirez said.
To solve connectivity and technical issues, updates to old setups became necessary.
“I (had) to upgrade my technology. I have my (class) meeting on my laptop while I’m doing the work on my iPad,” senior Joseph Candalaria said.
While some upgrades are simple others are not.
“I work at my desktop but it didn’t have a (built-in) camera so I had to buy one as well as two new monitors just so I can see my classes and present at the same time,” Eastlake High School soccer coach Larry Durbin said.
Going to school while everyone is at home presents its own challenges.
“My students have been awesome handling this change in their education. I think they know receiving an education is very important,” Ramirez said. “I try to get to know my students as best as possible and this year is no different. With extra-curricular activities slated to start soon, I am excited to see everyone compete again.”
At home responsibilities and school work are merging.
“I just received a new puppy, Sir Humphry Davy, my favorite chemist, so that has been an added responsibility that is new but nothing out of the ordinary,” Ramirez said. “He’s not interrupting my work, just my sleep.”
Schools are slowly reopening and for now parents and students in the district can choose whether to return or continue learning online.
“I don’t think there will be that many problems (with) hybrid learning. Just adjusting to it and remembering all the social distance and safety rules will be a hassle, but I think it will go well,” Candalaria said.
Reopening schools may present challenges.
“No system is ever perfect, but I am certain that our administration and YISD will have a great plan in place. I am excited,” Ramirez said. “Stay safe and wear a mask.”