Editor’s note: Last fall, Barry’s Bay resident Hayden Smith told Current readers about his hopes for entering high school. Now, he provides an update.
It has been almost five months since ‘COVID style’ school started, and those five months have certainly been interesting. It was strange enough just starting high school; with COVID protocols it is even stranger. It is very odd to walk around the school with everyone wearing masks, and this makes it quite unusual to see someone’s whole face when they are eating or drinking.
High school itself is not as bad as I expected it to be. I expected tons of homework and very hard assignments but, so far it’s turning out quite well; the homework (if there is any) is fairly light, and the assignments are not too hard. However, it is strange to work on only two subjects a day for two months. Doing this two subject ‘quadmester’ is another COVID protocol. Instead of two four-class semesters, there are four two-class quadmesters. I believe that this system is supposed to reduce contact between students. However, if you have friends outside your classes you can still see them at lunch.
I do not know how gym class/sports work with COVID protocols, as I had not yet done gym when I wrote this. However I will be starting gym this month, so I suppose I will soo know how things are working.
When the lockdown resumed and online school started again, it was a whole different experience. You couldn’t see your friends, and the teacher talking in a Google meet is no substitute for real, in-class learning. In fact, one student described online learning as, “a complete waste of time andWi-Fi.” During online learning, my grades dipped and I know that friends’ did as well. I am fortunate to have really good Wi-Fi, and therefore online learning was a feasible option for me. Other people, however, do not enjoy the same benefit.
Throughout all the COVID problems, teachers and staff have been nothing but supportive. During in-person school, they make sure that students have a safe learning environment. During the lockdown, the school provided Chromebooks and MiFi devices (mobile Wi-Fi). The teachers also made sure that we knew that we could contact them to ask for help if it was needed.
Learning in COVID has certainly been a unique experience. It has its quirks, but one day we students will look back and tell our kids all about it, the 2020-2021 school year will be our “walked 2 km uphill in a snowstorm” story. Together, people can get through anything.