Bison Return to In-Person Learning

Students+in+Dominic+Velotta%27s+AP+Psychology+class+are+masked%2C+socially+distanced+and+ready+to+learn.++

Rachel Rosenthal

Students in Dominic Velotta’s AP Psychology class are masked, socially distanced and ready to learn.

Tal Rothberg, News Editor

Beachwood students finally returned to in-person classes today after learning from home since early March.

Like most school districts around the country, Beachwood has had to tackle the challenges of balancing school with safety. As a result, many changes have been made. 

“The biggest change is the schedule” Principal Paul Chase explained in a Google Meet in late August. “There is a big difference between looking at a computer screen and being in a classroom.” 

That’s why, instead of full days, the student body has been split in half with last names A-L attending in the morning and M-Z attending in the afternoon. There is no school at all for BHS students on Wednesdays. 

This schedule was designed to allow for greater social distancing, and to make it easier for the transition back to school since students will  follow the same schedule whether in-person or online. 

At first glance, the schedule seems to cut down substantially on class time, but Chase explained why the schedule was designed this way.

“This schedule… is best for students’ learning and mental health,” he said.

Students and staff are required to complete daily health checklists, to wear masks and keep social distance.

Honestly, this has been tough. We’re reinventing school this year. We’re reinventing for if we’re online [and] or if we’re in person. Our ultimate goal is to make sure we learn but also to be safe.”

— Principal Paul Chase

Physical changes have also been implemented. The schools’ HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) have been updated as well. 

“[These updates include] ionization, UV lights and filtering upgrades,” Hardis explained in a Beachwood Board of Education Special Meeting on Sept. 14th. 

Plexiglass barriers have been installed for office staff. Spray bottles have also been delivered, and teachers will spray the desks between classes. 

The school is not likely to host dances or other group gatherings this year. 

“The Ohio Health Department is not anywhere close right now [to approving large events], and there’s nothing [I] can do,” Chase said.

So the administration and Student Council have been coming up with some fun alternatives.

Chase especially empathizes with Seniors. 

“We are looking at some type of senior day, involving spirit, painting cars, and socially distanced groups,” he said.

Seniors painted cars on Sept. 12th in the high school parking lot. 

Students will also be able to participate in many extracurriculars online. There was also an online club fair where students were able to learn about and join new clubs.

However, clubs such as Science Olympiad and Model UN will face challenges because tournaments will probably not be possible. In accordance with Governor Mike Dewine’s orders, teams (including sports teams) are only allowed to play one team per calendar day

Chase also explained that there will only be 15% capacity allowed at sporting events. This means that games will most likely be limited to immediate family members.

“My ultimate goal is to make sure that we get you back in the classroom learning, and opening up sports and [keeping them open],” Chase said.

Once we are back in person there will still  be some online learners who have elected to remain online until January. 

“The online learners will either have their own online class, or you’ll see them logged in live to your classroom,” Chase said.

It was so nice to see everyone in person.”

— Junior Maddie Rosenblitt

Teachers have received an extra Chromebook to broadcast their classrooms live as well as microphones that connect to the USB drive for a better online experience.

Even with classes in-person, some instruction is likely to be different than in the past.

“…You’re not going to be able to do labs like you used to,” Chase said. ”You’re going to see a lot more virtual and individual lessons when it comes to labs.” 

Finals will most likely occur in the last week of December before winter break. 

To make sure students don’t fall behind, extra academies will be held on Wednesdays. “It is on the student [to make sure they’re on top of things], but there’s an additional two hours a week for them to meet with their teachers.” 

To make sure students don’t fall behind socially, Beachwood has implemented a program called “circles,” which is intended to address students’ social and emotional needs. The program will run all year. 

Administrators understand just how different this year is. 

“Honestly, this has been tough,” Chase said.”We’re reinventing school this year. We’re reinventing for if we’re online [and] or if we’re in person. Our ultimate goal is to make sure we learn but also to be safe.” 

Students enjoyed the first day back. 

“It made the content of the classes much easier to understand,” Senior Alexa Zarjestkiy said.

“It was so nice to see everyone in person,”  junior Maddie Rosenblitt said.

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