While many other cities have already begun their school year, the city of Virginia Beach Public School 2020-2021 school year began just yesterday, September 8, and it was done virtually. With consideration to the current COVID-19 scenario, I am honestly for virtual learning at the moment, and voted thus during the several months of planning the 2020-2021 school year. I also opted for a whole semester of virtual learning for my kids, instead of Option #2, where the kids go back to school using health metrics to deem it safe to go on an in-person classroom setting. Eventually, my kids will be in an in-person class room setting too. For the first semester, they won’t be. Your thoughts?
What’s different this school year?
Aside for our city public school starting on an online class setting, at home, we are on a 4×4 semester schedule this school year. This is new to me and my fam, and what it is essentially is that the kids will take 3-4 classes per semester, on a daily basis from Tuesday to Friday. There are 2 school semester per year, and each half will be scheduled for 2 different sets of classes.
The kids will have those set of classes every day for the duration of the semester. Once the semester is done, another set of classes will proceed daily from Tuesday to Friday. This is in comparison to an alternate schedule of A/B classes, where classes are taken on alternate days for the whole school year.
Essentially, the kids will finish a year worth of classes in one semester. It will be faster learning pace, especially for AP classes, for sure. Luckily, we have just the one AP class scheduled this semester, AP Human Geography – for our Freshman. The others, will be for next semester, and we are hopeful the teachers will have a better grasp of the new new class setting.
I have to say, I am loving the virtual classes at the moment because the kids don’t have to wake up so early in the morning. Instead of high school starting at 7:20 am, it now starts at 8:30 am, and ends at 2:55 pm, with a 45-minute lunch break, and an Academic Support/Tutoring or Club Meeting Block from 3:05 – 3:50 pm. There is a 10-minute transition break from one class to another.
This year, live classes are set on Zoom, on real time. Information to join the class is posted on the teachers’ Schoology website. So, it’s like being in class but virtually. The kids need to show up on time, participate, and school work is graded.
Class attendance is taken, and it matters, just as if in an in-person class setting. The kids can get a tardy or an absent mark, which counts towards the maximum tardy/absent allowable in a school year. There’s also an online absent form available to excuse an absence.
While, we do have internet at home, it can get frustratingly slow, and sometimes even non existent, and as much as I would love to switch internet network, I do not have a choice at the moment. So, how slow it may be, it is what we got. However, the city provides parking lot wi-fi at certain school locations, if a student is having a difficult time connecting online.
So, how was our first day of online learning?
Quiet. I believe that pretty much sums it up. Haha The kids were in their rooms since start of class to end. I didn’t hear from them until around 4 pm. Probably catching up with friends how their first was too. I do have high schoolers so they pretty much take care of their own schedules.
There was one school-wide internet issue but was fixed soon after. First day was basically introduction to the class, meeting the teachers, meeting the classmates, and class expectations. The class setting was roughly around 20 something students per class. One was excited (our Freshman), one not so much (our Senior). Overall, a successful first day of school for us.
Virginia Beach Public School consists of 55 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, and 12 high schools. As you may deduce, the planning took months to make this school year happen. This school year is very new, and I am sure there will be some learning curves along the way, but we are positive that we can get through this year successfully. How was your first day of school?
Until next time.