Staff Editorial: Virtual days need new schedule

The last trimester of last school year was chaotic with seemingly every class having its own system for online classes. OdysseyWare, Google Meets and pre-recorded lessons were among some of the ways classes were held online. In an effort to standardize and avoid confusion, BHS has made efforts to use Canvas and Google Meets as the main way to hold virtual classes.

To familiarize everyone with how Canvas and Google Meet would work during a closure, virtual days were scheduled at the last two days of the trimester, right when everyone would have been finishing projects or taking their finals. Virtual practice days are important but the timing for them should really be taken into consideration. On possibly the most important days of the trimester for test taking or final due dates, we were online.

We have already practiced Google Meets, and Canvas is used for most classes even while in person, so why have more virtual practice days, especially when the practice days are after classes have done most things of substance?

After four months of online school last year, most students already know how to use Google Meet, and students get plenty of practice using Canvas in class. Although virtual days are important, it would be better for both the students and teachers to schedule them closer to the middle of the trimester, when real work will get done online.

Virtual days at the end of the trimester mean that even if teachers did have work for their students to do online, if students run into problems they’d have absolutely no chance to meet in person with their teacher to resolve those issues quickly, or to make up work they missed due to technical difficulties. There is little point in a practice day if there is no chance to review with that class how the practice went later.

In a survey by The Red ‘n’ Green, out of 50 students 20 reported technical difficulties ranging from inability to connect to poor audio quality. Problems with virtual days are to be expected, but with the way virtual days were scheduled it was a weeklong break before anyone was able to actually work on those issues, and classes could not meet to discuss any issues they had because those classes were over, and schedules changed.

While it is nice to have virtual days on days before break, and end of the trimester virtual days give teachers time to grade any last minute assignments that get turned in, it also takes away the teachers’ chance to meet one-on-one with students to go talk about final grades, retakes or failed assignments that they might prefer to do in-person.

Scheduling virtual days on what would have been half days like the virtual day planned for March 5 is a slightly better way to hold virtual practice because most classes would not be doing much, but it is still right on the last day of the trimester.

Virtual days are overall a good idea, but the scheduling of virtual days needs to be taken into careful consideration. Virtual school on the last few days of the trimester feels less like school from home and more like a virtual babysitter for high schoolers.