by Ella Wisely | staff writer
Following a one week extension of spring break, followed by more weeks are closure by local entities, all Texas schools are now ordered closed by Governor Greg Abbot until May 4.
“Our district is following Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order that Texas schools be closed until May 4,” lead counselor Courtney Tarbox said.
The NEISD school board has been waiting for announcements on whether or not the 2019-2020 school year will end completely or not and counselors at Johnson High School are waiting for the latest updates.
“All decisions regarding school closure and the procedures we follow during this time are made by the Executive Staff of our school district. We know that they are carefully monitoring the situation in our community and following guidance from both local and state officials. The safety and well-being of our community remains at the forefront of these decisions,” Tarbox said.
Junior Paola Lambert is echoing a lot of what students are saying about the school closure now.
“Although I do have a lot more time on my hands, I like going to school more because it gives me a chance to interact with and see people who I miss a lot. I also like having a schedule for my everyday life which is something that school has always been able to provide me with,” Lambert said.
And of course, distance learning has presented its own set of pros and cons, depending on the student.
“For me it’s been a pretty easy change. I feel like I am a quick learner which has helped me be able to learn on my own although having someone guide me in my learning is something I really miss,” Lambert said.
Since students can’t meet face to face with their teachers and peers, the interaction between students and teachers may have changed since distance learning started. Different teachers may try to increase interaction, but it doesn’t mean that it will certainly happen.
“The biggest complication is the lack of real human interaction. So much of teaching is done by being face to face with students, gauging their reaction to certain things, and seeing their participation. It’s tougher to know who is progressing when everything is online,” English teacher Kelsey Mire said.
Some students don’t have access to technology in their homes and can feel that they aren’t able to access their school work, but school districts have given different options for these students.
“Our school district is trying to support students that don’t have access to technology in two ways. First, we offered Chromebooks to students that have access to wi-fi, but needed a device to complete school work. If that option did not work, our teachers are providing alternate assignments through paper packets. We definitely don’t want students to be penalized if they do not have access to technology,” Tarbox said.
Since there are so many kids at Johnson, kids can be handling online school differently. There are kids that are doing their work better or worse now that it’s all online. Online school may be a better environment for kids and it has given them a leg up.
“I would say that there are good skills and lessons to learn any time we have to overcome adversity and problem solve in new situations. Distance learning and productive collaboration through technology is definitely a skill set that would be beneficial in the future job market,” Tarbox said.