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COVID-19 makes history, pushing Douglas County School District to online school


   2020 hits the history books as the United States recently surpasses China and Italy for the most confirmed COVID-19 cases, shutting down cities and states, and impacting grades k-12.

   Nothing like this has ever happened since the Spanish flu in 1918, leaving citizens with a problem to find the answer to. While teachers are trying their best to support their students, it is not always as easy through a computer screen, no matter the grade. 

   “They miss their friends, they miss the inside jokes, they miss the room and the culture we’ve spent all year building. It’s challenging keeping the family-like culture going, so I’m trying to give them as many opportunities to connect as possible without spending hours on the computer screen,” said Matt Rogers, 6th-grade teacher at Arrowwood Elementary.

   Teachers may have more trouble with online school because they do not have easy access to their students.

   “I really prefer being in person. I feel “half connected” to my students and my colleagues in the building,” said Rogers. “I can feel how busy my colleagues are and I can feel how busy the students are as well. It’s harder holding students accountable for their learning and ensuring they are doing everything, so making yourself as accessible as possible is key.” 

   Teachers at Cresthill Middle School are handling things very similarly to teachers at HR. “Some teachers are posting a daily video explaining the work for the day, while some are communicating completely through their website or Google Classroom, and some teachers are creating Google Hangouts for their students or teaching a lesson while live-streaming in Zoom,” said Barb Superka, 8th grade history teacher at CMS.

   Students at CMS are also being affected greatly.“I don’t really enjoy online school because I don’t get to see my friends from school, and it gets really boring just sitting in my house without someone to hang out with,” said Tyler Peragallo, seventh grader at CMS.

   Many students are struggling to sort out a personal schedule for themselves, making it hard to get work done. “Many of my students are struggling with what they perceive to be a lack of structure.  Many of them feel that they are getting work dumped on them and are just trying to sort out personal schedules for themselves. They miss the structure and socialization that school often brings to them,” said Jennifer Ewing, English teacher at HR. Many teachers also have kids of their own, giving them the task of teaching online classes and homeschooling their own children.

   “There are many avenues online that have made some aspects of teaching easier; however, nothing can take the place of connection and interaction in person,” said Ewing.

   The main thing people seem to be missing is the face to face interaction between themselves and their peers.“I think the most stressful thing for me is not having the daily face to face connection with students.  That has been really tough,” said Superka.

   Rogers said, “We, us educators and now parents, are doing everything in our power to ensure the students won’t be let down this year. We all want to go back. So students – please check in on your teachers because they could be struggling with all of this.”

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 1.46.20 PM.png
66 k-12 students were asked what their favorite quarantine activity was. Graphic by Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson, Staff Reporter

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COVID-19 makes history, pushing Douglas County School District to online school