On March 15, the GNPS community was notified of the superintendent’s decision to close the schools due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools in this district are currently using programs like the Zoom app, Google Classroom, and email to communicate with students during these trying times. These apps allow the teachers to communicate information like assignment due dates and new lessons online. For instance, the Zoom app is allowing a student to get extra help on an assignment by a real-time teleconference. Some teachers are also opting to host classes on this app to simulate an in-person class. 

Some students are finding this break from school helpful. Jordan Siedan, a senior at the Village School says that while this experience is bittersweet because she misses her friends, she is “learning to study and work hard even when [she’s] not in school. It’s preparing [her] for college.” She also says she enjoys spending time with her family in the house.  

Joanna Flores, a junior at Village School, has been finding the experience “more work-oriented” and that it “makes students focus more on subject topics and units.” She says that for her, it has made her see the details she would have skimmed over in the past. 

Danielle Gruber, a junior at Village School, finds the Zoom app most helpful because she has used this app with her professor at Nassau Community. It allows her to have “discussions and ask questions in live time while still having some degree of face-to-face interactions.” She also says that Lauren, a teacher at the Village School, plans to try out Zoom in her Lit Journeys and Quests class on Tuesday, March 24. There is an increasing number of teachers at Village who are holding Zoom meetings to teach. For example, science teacher Megan Wilvert occasionally holds “office hours” in which students can ask questions about the class material. 

Gruber also says that she believes the district is doing the best that they can with online learning. She also says that she likes this arrangement more because working at her own pace in her own space helps reduce her anxiety. Her one critique is that “online learning should get a bit more structured so that we can be encouraged to stick to a productive daily routine.”

Another student is determining what works for him personally. Jake Castillo, a junior at Village School, says he is finding some success with a different app- Microsoft Teams. He says that it allows a student to have some privacy when needed by letting him turn off his microphone and camera. “It also has a chat feature to contact anyone in the class,” he says. 

While some students are finding the extra time useful for completing assignments thoughtfully or spending time with family, others miss the benefit of having in-person classes. Andrew Allen, an eighth grader at Village School, says that this break is doing more harm than good in terms of his work ethic. “It’s just making me procrastinate,” he says. 

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