Grades Dropping During the Pandemic

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Fastweb

With the current circumstances, academic struggles are more present in our society than ever before.

By Hannah G., Day Creek Intermediate School

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have been forced to teach students virtually. For nearly six months, classes have met through online platforms like Zoom and Google Meet. Students are limited in their interactions with their friends constrained in their rapport with their teachers. Consequently, the number of D and F grades has boomed during the 2020-2021 school year. 

“(Distance learning) has increased the amount of Ds and Fs exponentially, so much so that it has become a huge concern. I just had a three-hour meeting about it this morning. I think that students are struggling because they can’t find that drive to keep going,” said assistant principal, Mrs. Kelley.

Teachers and administrators alike agree that the cause of the dramatic decrease in grades and struggle for attention is due to a lack of personal connection between students and teachers. Moreover, there are fewer ways to assist struggling students with the help they need in order for them to succeed. 

“In a virtual environment it is harder (to encourage kids to pay attention and work harder) because in a regular school year when we’re on campus, I can have a kid come and stay with me at lunch, or I can give them a pass for their elective class or P.E. to come meet with me to give them extra help. But now a lot of the incentives that are available at school are not available virtually,” said eighth grade teacher, Mrs. Gossage 

A recent survey on IBL News showed that 64% of students are concerned about maintaining focus during online classes. Many students are left home unsupervised during the school day, free to do whatever they want during school, without any motivation or accountability to do their best.

“(It is hard to stay on task while on Zoom) because there are so many distractions like YouTube, games, and social media,” said Joyce B.

Additionally, students agree that the worst part of distance learning is being separated from their friends. There’s little availability for personal connection between kids. 

“The worst part (of distance learning) is that we can’t interact with people as much as we used to, and I barely get to see my friends anymore,” said seventh grader, Kristy B.

However, our principals and teachers recognize the challenge and work to make their online classroom enjoyable. Students are assigned less homework, fun art projects and activities, and are playing games in class.

“Every Monday when we have our morning meetings, that first 20 minutes, we do a lot of games just to have fun,” said Mrs. Gossage. “I also try to use videos, and things like Kahoot or class competitions.”

Teachers are attempting to make class more captivating to raise the interest level for students. However, this is no easy task. 12-13 year olds have an average attention span of 24-36 minutes, and drops for those who are younger, presenting a challenge throughout the district.

 Grades have always been a primary marker of Coyote success on campus. Strong results allow for future participation in honor’s classes at the high school level which opens further opportunities for college. But those goals have taken a backseat for some as students have felt an ongoing isolation from their friends and extended their family in light of the pandemic. Ten months of quarantine has taken a toll on Day Creek’s students and staff. 

Though events are tough in the short term, Day Creek’s staff continues to encourage students to persevere through these difficult times.

“This is not going to last forever. I know it feels that way, but there are things in life where our heart is broken, our emotions are high, or we’re just unhappy. But they aren’t going to last forever in life. You have to keep pushing through it,” said Mrs. Kelley.

This story was originally published on The Day Creek Howl on January 26, 2021.