During the February 8th board meeting, Dr. Noble announced plans of implementing full in-person learning. Full-time transition plans begin at the middle school on February 22nd and continue to the high school on March 15.
“We are excited to announce our plan to return all students (with the exception of Family Choice Remote Learning) to a full on-site learning environment” stated an email released to district families on Friday.
Custodians have already sent out messages notifying teachers the desks in the lunchroom will be returned to their original classrooms. These desks were used to eat socially distanced within the commons area.
Plans are quickly falling into place to create as smooth of a transition as possible. However, this reveal has become controversial within the USD 345 community.
The Seaman School District is currently the only district within the county to attempt this format since the online transfer during a 2019 spring break – amidst the U.S. COVID-19 case rise.
“Most of the students that I’ve talked to have greatly disagreed with this change. Students would not be able to social distance or double-mask like the CDC has requested that we do from now on to prevent further spread” says senior Madi Harlow who recently transitioned to fully online learning. “Plus, I’m very positive that barely 10% of the students have received either of the two vaccines, and not all of the teachers have gotten their vaccines.”
On top of safety concerns, a huge piece of the hybrid schedule will be taken away for struggling students, individual learning on Wednesdays. The time apart is utilized by teachers and students to fix the overwhelming issues as a result of the pandemic.
“Students typically made their appointments on Wednesdays in case certain places weren’t open on weekends or even worked, and some took these days to catch up on homework,” said Harlow. “Teachers especially needed these days because they spend more than eight hours of their day at the school repeating the same things every day – they need a break.”
On the side of the spectrum, students feel that their needs have been long ignored due to the online learning arrangement. Those opposed to online learning argue that their retention of information is stunted when learning by computer.
“I have noticed that many kids have terrible grades when doing online classes and are not learning anything,” said junior Anna Magill who spoke out against virtual learning at a board meeting in November. “I personally think I am not learning and being exposed to as much as I should. You can’t learn by being on a computer all day.”
The possibility of Covid-19 rates ascending does not concern Anna Magill nearly as much as the idea of improper education.
“The whole time I believed full in-person was necessary for us,” said Magill. “I didn’t care about safety, I cared – and still care – about learning and knowledge, and how people with authority shouldn’t be able to take away anyone’s chance for a better understanding of the world.”
Nonetheless, the district will attempt to keep safe within the new learning outline. Masks will be required at all times but social distancing is suggested to be compromised.
“With quarantine numbers and positive cases trending down in the county and our school community, we feel we can safely bring all 7-12th grade students back while keeping most of our mitigation strategies in place,” wrote Dr. Noble on the Friday update.
The Clipper will continue to update readers as more details arrive.