Credit: WHS Administration
COVID-19 has completely transformed the education system and can only expand to better its students and educators as long as the coronavirus persists in the public with no vaccine or cure. Westside High School has fully remodeled its virtual learning structure compared to its last school year (2019-2020). The differences are significant from schedules to the importance of grades; however, you may be wondering: are these modifications negative or positive?
The 2019-2020 school year begins the transition to virtual learning at Westside in late March after being closed for two weeks. Class started at 9:30 AM, almost two hours later than in-school learning and ended at 3:00 PM. Students would go to their 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th period on Monday and Tuesday, and their 2nd, 4th, and 6th periods on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was used as a student support day. The grading and attendance policies were very lenient, and the cancellation of finals and STAAR testing made school become very effortless.
Nevertheless, the planned 2020-2021 school year at Westside completely alters the structure of virtual learning. Class starts at 8:30 AM and officially ends at 4:10 PM. Students are alternating between days with their 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th periods and their 2nd, 4th, Advocacy, and 6th periods. Lunch times have also been cut to 30 minutes whereas previous years have always been an hour long. Westside has become stricter in their grading policies with having two minor grades added every week and three major grades every six weeks for each class. Attendance is vital in participation and accounted for in every class as well. Karley McCommas (10th), a student at Westside, claims, “School has become a hustle of turning in assignments, instead of actually learning.”
In addition, students returning back to in-person school will have to adjust to the new developed schedule. Similarly as this year’s virtual learning schedule, students will alternate between their 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th periods with their 2nd, 4th, Advocacy, and 6th periods. Class will start at 8:30 AM and end officially at 4:10 PM. However, there is the new inclusion of office hours in either students’ 4th or 5th period each day after lunch.
Change and evolution is inevitable, including the development of virtual learning. It will only continue to adapt, not based on what is the “easiest” for students and teachers, but what works to adhere the education system.