Virtual learning

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools have been forced to take education online. The goal is making sure students and teachers work together, but recreating a classroom setting through an online portal is no easy task.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the closure of California schools through the end of the academic year. Together teachers, classified employees, school boards, superintendents and principals must work together to provide distance learning to students as a result of school closures against the COVID-19 outbreak.

While teachers and students everywhere have made this transition, some find it difficult to adjust to a virtual learning environment.

Longfellow Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Lauren Paulson said it’s difficult working from home because she can’t help her students with assigned schoolwork or her students don’t have access to the tools they need to communicate with her.

“I’ve been constantly reaching out to the parents via Class Dojo, Google Classroom and phone calls trying to get students to get on Zoom so we can communicate daily. I reach about 15 of my 28 students,” Paulson said.

Leon H. Ollivier Middle School seventh-grade teacher Devon Halsell said she feels obsolete with distance learning.

“I only hear from 10% of my students each day and have to wonder if the other 90% are doing the work, let alone understand it,” said Halsell.

Both Halsell and Paulson use Zoom to connect with their students daily and said their districts are doing what they can to continue their students’ educational success.

Not only do teachers feel like they can’t teach from home, but students are also trying to get accustomed to their new learning environment.

CSU Bakersfield student Lola Jimenez is going through her final semester as an undergraduate this spring and expressed the challenge of transitioning from in-person to online. Jimenez said it’s difficult for her to focus on completing schoolwork when being at home.

“Peace and quiet are not the easiest. I’m used to living in the library and staying there from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. doing homework. I also had my own space and I could focus.” said Jimenez. “I have all these distractions at home so focusing is really difficult.”

Jimenez also acknowledged the struggles her peers at CSUB face, like not receiving enough help in classrooms or programs and software used to help them achieve success in classes.

“School is a little harder now for some of my classmates because they were worried about how they were going to do schoolwork. I’m happy that CSUB was renting out Chromebooks or else a lot of people wouldn’t have been able to do homework,” said Jimenez.

According to a news conference held by Gov. Newsom, thousands of California students who lack accessibility to a computer or internet will have the opportunity to rent a Google Chromebook to make sure distance learning does not create an educational barrier.

Through this pandemic, Halsell said she misses her students and wants students everywhere to continue to stay positive.

“Try to find something good about every day. If we take it one day at a time, we can all get through this together,” Halsell said. 

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