Coronavirus Closes Woodside Until April 6

All Sequoia Union High School District schools are moving to online classes to limit the spread of coronavirus.

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Chloe

A student works on an online assignment to prepare for online learning.

By Chloe Postlewaite, Woodside High School - CA

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), all Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) schools are transitioning to online learning beginning Monday, March 16, and are planning to return to in-person classes on Monday, April 6.

Schools in Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and San Mateo Counties are temporarily closing to move to online classes. Mary Streshly, the SUHSD superintendent, announced the district’s closure in an email sent Friday morning.

“Teachers will use Canvas, our online learning management system, to provide students with assignments and guide learning,” Streshly stated in the email.

SUHSD is also preparing to help students access to the resources they need for online learning, including signing out Chromebooks to students without computers at home.

“We are also developing strategies by which we will provide meals to students who rely on us for support,” Streshly wrote. “While our campuses are closed for whole classroom-based instruction, we plan to keep the campuses open to staff and for students receiving unique or specialized services.”

What online learning will look like varies by teacher, but many are planning to keep classes as close to normal as possible.

“One of the things that I’m going to try to do is I’m going to try and do is try to keep the days the same, which is going to be kind of strange,” Jesse Manzo, a teacher at Woodside, revealed. “If I were to have an A-day, I’ll release A-day lessons on Canvas and B-day and so forth.”

Though some teachers have already planned how to run their online classes, they know that they will have to remain flexible.

“For my class, I’m planning on having the kids use the textbook as a backup, but posting my PowerPoint slides, my notes sheets, any assignments like Edpuzzles, just like normal,” Shomace Ighanian, a science teacher at Woodside, said. “As time goes on, and we’re still not in school and I find the need for video conferencing and things like that, we have to figure out how to be flexible.”

One of the main issues with online learning is testing.

“That’s the big question for most teachers — how we will [administer tests],” Ighanian wondered. “We know that you can access anything on the Internet, so I think we have to get more creative and go beyond multiple-choice tests and go with ‘diagram this concept, create a poster,’ — be more creative in the assessment so that you can’t just Google the answer.”

School closures bring up problems beyond giving tests; workers paid hourly wages could also be hurt by the district’s switch from on-campus learning to online learning.

“I ask students to be mindful of their reactions to this news,” Manzo added. “While they may be happy, they may be in a position of privilege where they don’t have to worry because their parents work from home, other people are being laid off or they’re getting their hours cut off.”

This story was originally published on The Paw Print on March 13, 2020.