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Remote Learning Plans Underway

Photo Courtesy: Springfield Public Schools, Fair Use

Remote Learning Reconsidered

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Cuyahoga County, schools are rethinking their instructional plans during the pandemic. Several local school districts are moving to all-remote instruction in response to the new recommendations set by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

Locally, many schools are assessing the increasing risks of COVID-19. Lakewood, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland Heights-University Heights school districts hesitate to maintain in-person learning. These districts are trying their best to keep in-person learning running, but the widespread surge of COVID-19 continues to make all schools reconsider the all-remote learning option. To maintain utmost health safety, Gilmour Academy is now set to be all-remote from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Students and Teachers Prepare for All-Remote Learning

Mackenzie Palinski ‘21 had already chosen all-remote learning as her best option to stay healthy and reduce risk of COVID-19 infection. She said managing one’s time and motivating oneself are important factors to making all-remote learning work for students.

Students are encouraged to maintain close ties with their teachers through daily Zoom check-ins and virtual office hours for one-on-one time. Zoom, Google Hangout, and Pear Deck are among popular tools teachers can use to stay connected with their students during all-remote instruction.

Administration Shares Plans for Virtual Learning

Director of the Upper School Ms. Elizabeth Edmondson also believes communication is important because of the fact that all-remote students no longer have easy, immediate access to their teachers. This can cause barriers for them, but virtual hangouts and email are always options for all-remote students.

Ms. Edmondson said, “There was a lot to learn” when the Academy first went all-remote due to the lockdown order in March 2020. Teachers needed to learn and use  Zoom and virtual hangouts on a daily basis. These were all-new tools for many teachers. Ms. Edmondson said communication is the key to all learning because all-remote students “don’t get the opportunity to lean over and ask a friend a question. In fact, it could be vital to their success.” She emphasized the need for students and teachers to remain connected during all-remote instruction. According to Ms. Edmondson, teaching and learning need to remain a shared experience.

During this time, some unforeseen challenges may arise with remote learning, but everyone is encouraged to make the best of the situation, and do as much as they can to make their homes feel like classrooms.

Academy Announces All-Remote Details

At Convocation on Tuesday, November 24, Ms. Edmondson shared all-remote guidelines with the Academy. Remote learning will start on December 1 and go until December 18, ending the first semester. A new schedule will be in place for this all-remote learning time. Classes will be 60 minutes instead of 90. Late starts will now be on Wednesdays with Advisory starting at 10 a.m. Wednesdays are known as Personalization Days, giving students more flexibility to get work done. Virtual Learning Zones will continue to be open on campus, and reservations will be required to use them. Whether at home or in a VLZ, students will experience a Zoom meeting at the start of each class for attendance and daily instruction. Zoom meetings may be brief or extended, depending on the curriculum and needs of the class.

An email of “Protocols and Daily Schedule of Virtual Learning” was sent out to all Gilmour families to prepare for utmost learning during the remote weeks ahead.