MSD begins distance learning with new schedule


With school temporarily out of session, many teachers and students have been using chatting platforms such as Zoom to learn virtually.

Ian Richard

With school temporarily out of session, many teachers and students have been using chatting platforms such as Zoom to learn virtually.
With school temporarily out of session, many teachers and students have been using chatting platforms such as Zoom to learn virtually. Photo by Melissa Falkowski

Due to the worldwide pandemic known as the coronavirus or COVID-19, schools around the nation have closed down in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. While students and staff are not allowed on campus for classroom learning, video chat software such as Zoom has allowed school to continue while everyone quarantines at home.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Zoom has become the new normal, as on-campus learning has stopped. During spring break, the schedule for online classes through Zoom was released by MSD. Along with this schedule, directions on how to access Zoom and how online learning will work in the upcoming weeks were given as well.

Online school at MSD will follow the usual silver and burgundy day schedule. All classes will be in 90-minute slots.

Teachers have office hours that are meant to serve as a time for them to assist students with any work or questions they may have.

Certain time slots are assigned to different subjects to make online learning easier.
Certain time slots are assigned to different subjects for live lectures and office hours. Photo courtesy of Broward County Public Schools

Office hours have become problematic for some students because different classes have overlapping office hours, forcing students to choose between which classes to attend.

Although there is a set schedule for online classes, some teachers have decided to not have any online classes, but to instead post all notes and homework online through Canvas instead. Computer science teacher Sandra Rennie is one of those teachers not conducting any online lessons.

“I never considered online teaching,” Rennie said. “I would consider it now, however, I know online teachers do not do it the way we are doing it and their hours stretch out differently throughout the day. I would still miss the face-to-face interaction with my students.”

Some teachers have also been scheduling zoom sessions outside of their designated time slots.

“I don’t think it is right whatsoever that teachers are teaching live lessons after their scheduled times. After 12:30 p.m. I plan out my day so that I can work on my school work and focus on other school-related activities, however, when live lessons interfere with that it throws off my whole schedule,” junior Nadia Murillo said.

On the other hand, math teacher Shanthi Viswanathan is following the set schedule for online school, posting videos, notes and homework even before the campus officially shut down.

“The choice to do online was not an option thanks to COVID-19,” Viswanathan said.“I would personally rather attend physical school because there is nothing like students participating [with] instant feedback and working on the board doing a problem, especially in a math class.”

In addition to some teachers preferring on-campus learning, some students find themselves agreeing with them, because of the frustrations that come with virtual learning.

“Personally, online school is just not for me;  it’s very confusing and it is very hard to stay focused at home. I would rather go to school,” sophomore Alexi Delgado said.

Seniors who were supposed to be graduating and attending prom this year do not know how the rest of the year will go for them.

“Online schooling has not been too bad for me because I’m already used to doing most of my assignments on Canvas and I do enjoy being at home. But if I had the option, I’d rather be taking my classes at school because I feel as though I learn better in person, and I’m sad that I’ve lost some of the most important months of my senior year,” senior Justin Richard said.

Although MSD students cannot physically attend school until at least May 1, according to Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie, alternatives such as Zoom for video chats and Canvas for assignments have made online schooling easier and more accessible. With online school being the new normal, how these upcoming months unfold and if the school year will continue as planned are still up in the air.