Keystone’s Response to COVID-19 Part II: Start of 2021 School Year

Keystone's Response to COVID-19 Part II: Start of 2021 School Year

Shreya Chaudhary, Staff Writer

We started off school with the long-anticipated switch from Gmail to Outlook. Along with switching to Outlook, some of our class regulations changed, with three main changes:

  1. All of our classes moved to Zoom.
  2. Cameras were required for each class.
  3. Attendance on Canvas was no longer required.

Of course, as there was a new school year, many of our teachers retired or left. Some of the high school teachers who left the school included the French teacher, M. Hirt, the Spanish teacher, Sra. Boryczka, and the English teacher, Mrs. Elizondo. While the students knew M. Hirt would be moving to a different school and Mrs. Elizondo would be retiring, the news of Sra. Boryczka retiring was unexpected to us, and the parting of all these teachers greatly saddened the students. 

Teachers and Mr. Spedding at Distribution Day before school started this year

Meeting new teachers through a screen instead of in person is definitely a challenge. Half of the classes I’m taking this year consist of teachers I’ve never taken a class from before. Classes occasionally get slightly awkward, with students finding it difficult to interact with teachers we’ve only met online. Overall, however, the Keystone faculty have been able to keep the energy moving and classes have been running smoothly.

Tests still work similarly, all of them submitted through Canvas. In fact, this year, many clubs have been able to better operate virtually, now with a solidified plan. Model United Nations (MUN), for example, plans to join many virtual conferences; the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team has been hosting virtual workshops to train new students; and, as you can tell from this article, Keynote has been working on getting Keystone’s news to you.

A few other notable changes are that advisory is now multi-grade. In the past, advisory would be a three-way divide of grade levels and often a grouping used in outdoor education trips and other activities. Now, however, advisory contains students from all four high school grade levels, categorized based on interests from a form Wellness Council sent out. Their hope for this new method is to provide a space for different grade levels to interact with each other, something rather difficult during the COVID-19 times.

Along with a new advisory, we also have the option of virtual PE. Created by the coaches, students get a few exercise videos each week and complete two of them in their own time and two together in a Zoom. By completing this course, students try to gain the number of hours needed for the possible quarter sports credit. 

Finally, the Student Council has been working hard to keep the grades connected and have fun. They’ve planned a few “Game Nights,” hosting a series of games and allowing grades to compete for Spirit War points. Along with that, the current junior grade has recently enjoyed playing Among Us during our free time. 

 

With a week to plan, Keystone was able to provide the students with a functional online learning experience. After a summer’s worth of planning, Keystone was able to iron out any rough edges to make the entire process run smoother. 

 

[This is part 2 in the series of “Keystone’s Response to COVID-19”. To read part 1, click here]