A fresh start: students come back to school

This story was originally published in the second edition of The Lion’s Tale (November 6, 2020).

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Seminole County Public Schools decided to offer three educational options for students. The first, called Seminole Connect, offers all classes in an online format, with students staying home and using Webex to view their teacher’s lessons and ask questions. The second is typical face-to-face instruction. Students attend their classes on campus but follow a block schedule, wear masks and practice social distancing. Finally, families can choose a hybrid option, which is a mix of Connect and in person learning. Students choose which classes they want to take face-to-face and which ones they’ll do at home via Connect. Per usual, Florida and Seminole County Virtual Schools are also choices. As the second quarter begins, some students are transitioning from one format to another.

A transfer from Connect to in person is a big change for many students, as they have not followed their regular school routine since March. The lack of social interaction while isolated at home was a common factor in the decision to return.

“I chose to go back because it seemed like the virus was under control, and I missed hanging out with kids my age” said junior Aiden Tanner.

Many students found that learning from home posed challenges academically.

“I wanted to see all my friends in person, plus being at home has too many distractions,” said junior Chris Keeling.

Being around friends and in the classroom creates an environment more conducive to learning for many students. Also, as Keeling noted, being at home provides plenty of distractions, such as access to the internet and the temptation to doze off .

One difficulty for those doing Seminole Connect or hybrid is managing sleep schedules that vary throughout the week. For example, on orange day, if a student has math virtually third period, he may wake up around ten AM, whereas the next day he might need to wake up at six o’clock in the morning for an in person class.

“I have adjusted nicely because all my teachers have given me the proper resources,” Tanner said.

Teachers have had a lot on their plates this year as well, but they’ve taken the time and effort to make sure that all their students have the resources to succeed, regardless of educational setting. Both

Tanner and Keeling said they prefer face-to-face instruction because they feel they can better interact with their class. The school has taken steps to limit the spread of COVID so they and other students can prioritize their education and be sure their safety is in good hands.