November’s Return to Fully Online Learning


Photo illustration by: Janu Shrestha. The time turns to 7:45 am on school days and SCHS students are logging onto Webex on their IPad and start their fully online school day at home. Due to the transition from a hybrid model to a completely online environment, students and teachers are adjusting to this schedule which has impacted them in many ways. A Silver Creek High School student said, “With this sudden change of going fully online, it does feel a bit strange and a bit stressful but it is important to do so to protect our community from the ongoing risk of coronavirus.”

Janu Shrestha, Staff Writer

A normal day at school is envisioned as students rolling into the classroom one by one, teachers educating their students, lunchtime, and so on; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic occurring, it has crumpled this normality for all students and teachers and offered a new one: hybrid learning and online learning.

Throughout this year, St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) schools were practicing hybrid learning, a blending of online school, and of learning at school. This soon changed on November 30th, 2020 where all schools in the SVVSD district shifted to an all-online learning environment due to the ongoing safety risk of the coronavirus.

With over 10,000 COVID-19 cases and many adding each day, Boulder County has been placed under the red level which indicates that it has a severe risk of catching COVID-19.

As coronavirus continues to escalate in Colorado, numerous health experts, Boulder County Public Health, and the Governor’s office all have reported that a school environment is safer than many others around the community and addressed that that environment is not a primary source for coronavirus spreading. Even so, due to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment protocols, the operation for in-person learning in Boulder County has been halted as of now.

The SVVSD district and school administration teams are being constantly pulled in each different direction to do something about these uprising situations of schooling. With each decision made, they put all their efforts to implement the approach safely and effectively.

Mr.Ottem, an assistant principal at Silver Creek High School, compared this situation of being tugged in different directions from many voices about what the next step of schooling is and compared it to that of a DJ’s and stated, “A DJ does a lot to create an experience for dancers. But the DJ doesn’t have to [compromise and] answer questions about music or dancing, or monitor struggling dancers [just as how the SVVSD district and school administrations have to analyze difficulties and come to a decision] and constantly create simultaneous sounds/rhythms to help them look more proficient on the dance floor.”

Coronavirus is on the rise every single day and with implementations being set, it has forced SVVSD schools to have an all-online learning system affecting many teachers and students who have felt the importance of social interaction correlating with doing well in learning and school. In-person social interactive learning can give students a better experience and give a helping hand for succeeding in classes because they are exposed to peer learning, reciprocal teaching, learning by observation, learning by hands-on experiences, and so forth.

“I believe I do best in an in-person interaction environment because I am able to get help from teachers and classmates when I need it,” a Silver Creek High School student stated. “I also feel that I learn more and retain more information when I’m being taught by my teachers in front of me in a classroom than on an iPad in my bedroom.”

A fully online class schedule can be very stressful for teachers. In this type of situation, there are many challenges faced by teachers but they have to brainstorm and find ways to interact with their students to give them the best learning system possible to succeed.

One specific challenge teachers are going through is being able to connect through the screens with their students in the online environment.

“The hardest part about the online environment is just not being able to be with students and to have that energy of a classroom discussion.” Mr.Opal, a Silver Creek High School teacher, stated. “It’s not as effective when there are so many screens without faces–that makes it difficult to gauge understanding and how things are going.”

The transitioning to a fully online model bundled up everyone into stressful situations; however, all individuals in the community including administration, teachers, and students are taking one step higher towards normality and being flexible to put forth the community’s health and safety.