In the span of just over one year we’ve gone from school as it had always been known to remote learning, hybrid learning, and full virtual learning. We’ve learned the definition of asynchronous. Many of us have gotten pretty used to waking up, opening the chromebook and being in class. But this rollercoaster keeps going and now we’re in for another turn. Since Covid-19 cases have significantly decreased since their all-time high in January as a result of increased access to vaccinations, the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) announced that all schools would return to in person learning before the end of the year.
On April 5 the elementary and middle schools will reopen and MHS will resume in-person learning full-time (aka school) starting on April 28th. To answer the inevitable questions the Voice met with Ms. Watkins for a Q & A.
Will the school look different in terms of where classes are held in order to meet the 3 foot distance?
We can expect 30-40 class sections to be moving. We run over 400 class sections meaning 10% of classes could potentially experience a classroom change, but no classes will be forced into outside tents due to a lack of space in the building. Moving into tents wouldn’t work due to the lack of wifi and tents are more likely to be used for lunches. Teachers will be allowed to use their discretion and hold class outside weather permitting.
Will there be any change in schedules?
We will be back to the “waterfall” schedule from last year and timings will stay the same. The lunch schedule is currently being recalculated which means some could expect a change in assigned lunch. Nowadays we can expect even more lunch location options, the library, gym, cafeteria, and tents.
Will the wifi be able to handle so many computers on the network at the same time? If not, how do you plan to remedy that?
I think it will, the Technology department is confident it will hold. It’s more about everyone trying to get on at once, not the capacity of holding everyone at once. The internet improvements are tremendous.
Is there a system set in place if too many students or faculty members contract the virus or become close contacts?
We are waiting for guidance still. Although nothing new is in place relative to quarantine and there is no CDC guideline I am confident a process will be put in place that ensures the safety of students and staff.
Will there be a shift in bus transportation protocol?
I don’t expect bus transportation to change. According to updated CDC guidelines, we can now have two to a seat like in previous years. There are still many drop off concerns; it is all very up in the air. But we do know juniors will be back to the junior lot like in the previous year and senior spots will most definitely be reassigned.
Will paper examinations for students be the norm again?
A combination of both google forms and paper tests depending on the teacher and class.
Will existing virtual remote cohort teachers remain only teachers for that cohort?
Yes, they will stay put in the VRC.