NHS Returns to School Virtually in September
As COVID-19 devastatingly hit the United States in March of 2020, schools prepared for a new way to teach their students safely. Virtual learning at Nutley High School was immediately put into place and students have been learning from home ever since. When Nutley Public Schools reopened this September, all students were taught virtually and the schedules differed from last spring. NHS classes are separated into G and H days, that are followed three days consecutively. Teachers and students are allowed a flexible schedule to assign and complete school work. Office hours are provided after school everyday, from 12:22, until 2:53.
Nutley High School nurse, Mrs. Cioffi, explains the current situation, regarding hybrid learning. “Until the Governor and the people in charge feel that it is safe, all aspects of life will continue to be affected by the virus. This includes returning to a normal school day.” At NHS, certain classrooms lack ventilation and give off extreme heat. This makes face masks, worn to stop the spread of the virus, ineffective. Until the warmer months are behind us, students will continue learning from home.
Teachers have adapted to this plan and have become very creative with their lesson plans. “I am creating so many new and different activities and lessons that I might not have ever thought of before,” says NHS History teacher, Mrs. Amy Gewecke. Online learning gives teachers various outlets, in hopes to teach their students in the most effective way.
Certain goals have been set as well. Mrs. Jessica Lemire, NHS English teacher explains that she likes virtual learning for her and her students. “My goals for this year's online learning really are a commitment to equity and allowing myself and my students some grace,” she says. COVID-19 hit New Jersey harshly and it is important to keep students’ mental health and personal life in mind. “There is a collective trauma present here that needs to be taken into account in all the things we're doing, so I try to be very mindful of that,” explains Mrs. Lemire.
“Online learning allows the teacher to still teach in a face-to-face format while also leveraging the skill-sets of students' technology abilities,” states Mr. Josephy Materia, Nutley High School’s Vice Principal. He explains that NHS teachers have set up plans that are “flipped” in order to make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be, academically. He adds, “Students appear to be responding well to the Google meets, break out sessions, as well as the flexibility that online learning brings.”
NHS has adapted to online-learning competently and will continue, until it is safe for students to go back, face-to-face. Virtual-learning is a unique way for students to learn while at home and teachers will do their best to teach their students in the best way possible.