District-Wide Schedule Change Results in Decreased Time Online

Top officials adjust synchronous learning schedule to relieve stress on community bandwidth and to decrease length of screen-time for students.

Anjali Kok, Staff Writer

After teachers and students navigated through the hiccups of Google Meet video conferences and synchronous remote learning for a week, Superintendent Gregory Wyman announced a change to students’ learning schedules ; decreasing the time students spend in their virtual classes and freeing up bandwidth in the community to improve the quality of video conferences.

Students now meet with teachers at times based on their grade level. Ninth-12th graders are attending virtual classes from 7-10 a.m. and will work offline from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Elementary students will sign in to virtual classes from 10 a.m – 1 p.m and students that attend J. O. Combs Middle School will be online from 1- 4 p.m. Teachers will have regularly scheduled office hours from 10:15 a.m – 2:45 p.m. for students that need help with their coursework.

The change has caused some students to feel uncertain. Sophomore Lia Kinney believes that the adjustment may do more harm than good and cause a lack of communication.

“Performing arts students are especially impacted by the change because it limits their time to build a community with their peers,” Kinney said. “AP students are also affected by the change as they’ll have less of a chance to get a full understanding of the more difficult subjects.”

AP English teacher Andrea Dales believes that the change is a good idea and can still be beneficial. With teachers concerned about students not completing their work, communication will become even more important.

“It is vital that students be willing to reach out to teachers for help and clarification because it is more difficult for teachers to tell,” Dales said. “I know we would all like to be in the classroom, but this is the safest choice right now. I am confident that we can make it work and that learning will happen and relationships will be built.”

While in-person learning is preferred, students and parents are doing their best to understand that with the current state of COVID-19, it may not be the most ideal choice. John Scrogham, Career and Technical Education Coordinator, is one of these parents. With one of his children enrolled at CHS as well another at an elementary school, the changes have brought some challenges.

“It puts a little more responsibility on us as parents to make sure our children spend the appropriate time addressing their studies when offline,” Scrogham said. “but we all must do our part during these unprecedented times.”
Scrogham acknowledges that there is no perfect solution, and that adjustments like this require quick decisions. In doing their best to adapt, he noticed and appreciates the opportunity for his high school student to assist his second grader while they’re at work.

Drama Director Nicholas Smith understands that the toll of a full schedule can be unsustainable, but could also be helpful in the transition back in-person learning. Though as the return to in-person becomes uncertain, he believes that these changes will be a better fit for students, allowing for flexibility to work at their own pace while still having time to receive help from their teachers.

“Now for teachers, that creates some challenges in planning, but I always do what I can to make sure students get the best experience I can,” Smith said. “Regardless of anything else, student and teacher safety should always be the number one priority. The sooner we embrace that, the sooner we can start to make some lemonade out of our particularly sour 2020 lemons.”

The J. O. Combs Unified School District Governing Board will meet tonight, August 10, at 6 to discuss and consider approval of the Superintendent’s resolution for reopening schools. Community members interested in listening to the meeting can tune in at meet.google.com/dze-esab-yss using the pin number 436 892 211#. The meeting agenda can be viewed here.