Hybrid online classes cause learning adjustments

Admisdt+the+coronavirus+pandemic%2C+junior+Morgan+Reese%27s+school+supplies+sit+ready+for+her+next+virtual+class+to+begin+at+the+high+school.+Morgan+counts+as+one+of+the+more+than++6%2C800+students+across+the+district+to+choose+e-learning.+The+district+also+offered+an+in-person+option+to+its+more+than+18%2C000+total+students.+%22Online+learning+has+definitely+been+a+learning+experience+for+both+students+and+teachers%2C%22+Reese+said.+%22At+times+I%E2%80%99ve+felt+left+out+and+like+there+was+no+way+for+me+to+get+help+because+the+teacher+has+to+focus+on+teaching+the+in-person+students.%22

Morgan Reese

Admisdt the coronavirus pandemic, junior Morgan Reese's school supplies sit ready for her next virtual class to begin at the high school. Morgan counts as one of the more than 6,800 students across the district to choose e-learning. The district also offered an in-person option to its more than 18,000 total students. "Online learning has definitely been a learning experience for both students and teachers," Reese said. "At times I’ve felt left out and like there was no way for me to get help because the teacher has to focus on teaching the in-person students."

Gabriella Winans, Reporter

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The infamous COVID-19 has brought new norms to society, such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and performing regular handwashing. Yet, another challenge emerged with the end of summer, starting back-to-school. To offer students both safety and choice, the district gave the option to do in-person learning or to attend virtually for the first nine weeks. With coronavirus cases on the rise nationwide, 36.5% of Prosper students chose to take a virtual path.

“The Prosper ISD Leadership Team has been working since March, designing school and attempting to predict the future while given a great amount of uncertainty,” PISD superintendent Holly Ferguson said.  “The Texas Education Agency continued to release updates throughout the months of June and July about the ever-changing climate and design of the schools.”

Across the district, approximately 6,893 students are virtual out of a total enrollment of 18,839, according to information from Ronald Caldwell, Director of District Services. For those students attending in person, they all wear required masks, practice social distancing and participate in cleaning routines, including using hand-sanitizer when they enter and leave each classroom.

For those students learning virtually, adjustments involve a new normal of logging onto a Google Meet for each class, which students said can be a learning experience, by itself.

“At times I’ve felt left out and like there was no way for me to get help because the teacher has to focus on teaching the in-person students,” junior Morgan Reese said. “It’s really frustrating to not feel connected and like you’re getting the most out of your education.”

Although junior Amanda Hare still attends her Talonette dance class and newspaper course in-person, the rest of her classes are virtual.

“Sometimes my connection will freeze,” Hare said. “Or, my teacher will accidentally put themselves on mute.”

As feeling disconnected remains a problem for some online learners, senior Gina Karmazin said she’s found herself enjoying e-learning.

“I did anticipate to enjoy e-learning as much as I am,” Karmazin said. “I knew that I would be more efficient with my work at home rather than in the classroom while surrounded by other people. I also wanted to be as safe as possible.”

As the worldwide coronavirus pandemic remains, the district administration members said they plan to continue to provide a safe environment for both in-person and virtual learners.

“I’ve found peace in knowing the strength of the leadership team in Prosper ISD,” Ferguson said. “The team has joined forces and worked collectively and collaboratively to serve all PISD students.”