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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

Students struggle with studies during COVID-19

FRI. | 11-20-20 | NEWS

     Many students have struggled during COVID-19 both in and out of school and for some, their grades have reflected that struggle. At Rose, there has been a marked drop in grades since the beginning of the pandemic and virtual learning.

     “I think we’re going to see a lot of grades that are not the best,” counselor Christa Monroe said. “Even those students who do typically well, I think they struggled some, so you may have an A student who is pulling out a B right now by virtue of the fact that they are either coming face-to-face, virtual alternative weeks, or they’re all virtual.” 

     Teachers are doing what they can to keep students engaged, but are having to reach out to students and their parents more than needed to in the past.

     “I’ve made a lot more contact out to students this year, plus I’ve reached out to quite a few parents this year,” math teacher Amanda Davis said. “In the past, since I’ve always taught a lot of older students, I like to put responsibility on them and only reach out to parents if it’s necessary, where this year, it has become a lot more necessary.”

     Many additional steps are being taken this year to check in with students and give them support from not only teachers but also counselors.

     “I think the key is communicating and I think the key is that you can’t depend on the parent to contact you, as the educator, you are going to have to make that contact and it’s a lot of students...but we have to make that effort,” Monroe said. “We are trying to utilize the staff we have here at J.H. Rose to do that, to cover the bases, utilizing our ACES teachers,…our counselors,...our school social worker, whatever we need to do, but we cannot sit back and wait for the parent to contact us.”

     Unlike last spring semester, there is no PC-19 option to only allow a pass/fail to be listed rather than a normal grade. If students chose for a normal numerical grade to be recorded, they could select either their grade prior to the switch to all-virtual or their grade combining all work for that semester. Some, however, feel that we are now suffering the consequences of that option being offered to students. 

     “Last semester you had a lot of students who didn’t have devices and many who didn’t have internet access, they were trying to do it on their phone, so I understand the reason that we did pass/fail last spring, I think it created a situation though that maybe we’re going to pay for later,” history teacher Reece Jones said. “I think there was the assumption that we did

Seed to Flower Timeline Infographic.jpg

Infographic by Tierney Reardon

pass/fail last year so maybe we would do that this year, so I think it created a false...expectation.”

     In addition to the PC-19 grading option offered last year creating misconceptions for many students this year, students have also had to account for certain differences in understanding due to the hectic format spring semester last year. 

     “I had an Honors Math II class, which, the majority of them actually did really well, even when we went online and the majority of them I had move forward into Honors Math III, but I warned them how Math III is harder as it is and then if they felt like the gap was too large of what they were learning at home, then they might want to consider standard,” Davis said. “Then for AFM...I was really worried about some of them going into precalculus, with having half of the year online, so I just had to talk with a few of them about how hard are they willing to work, realizing that they have this gap.”

     This year, there many teachers are still seeing inconsistencies, not just in understanding, but between their in-person and all-virtual students. 

     “The students who are in-person, it’s a completely different world for them, now there are some really good virtual-only students, but they’re the ones who are…really working at it,” Jones said.  “If everyone was getting on Zoom, maybe that would be different, guess is that the majority of my students are not getting on Zoom in any sort of a consistent way, so yes, the ones who are face-to-face are doing better without question, but that’s probably only 20-25% of my students.”

     Jones teaches mostly standard level classes and to his knowledge most of the standard classes are experiencing very low levels of attendance face-to-face. Monroe, however, has found that many students who have been attending entirely virtually are considering switching to the hybrid schedule at the start of the second semester. While many of the logistics of adding more students in-person and maintaining social distancing still need to be considered, Monroe said that each student does have the ability to choose either format. 

     Each student will have to decide whether they will be attending face-to-face or virtually for the spring semester by Friday, Nov. 20 using the Spring Learning Option Indicator Form

     In an effort to make sure that students and their parents/guardians were completing the form, Rose counselors went out into the community at various locations including the South Greenville Elementary School gym, C.M. Eppes Middle School, Jaycee Park and the Greenville Flea Market located on Greene Street. They stayed at each location for about an hour and were also available to answer any questions 

     While this semester has proven challenging for many students, both Davis and Jones have seen students succeed in both learning formats as long as they are finding the motivation to put in the work.

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