Coronavirus Disrupts 2020-2021 School Year In The Orono District

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Katie Udell

Photo of Orono High School

Cate Challgren, Features Editor

It is well known that the Coronavirus has disrupted a variety of people’s everyday lives, one of the more prominent aspects being education. High School English teacher Sarah Cole and 8th grader Cameron Cole give the full scope of the effects the implemented plans have taken on both a student and teacher perspective.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, on July 30th Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-82, involving the requirement for districts to provide a distance learning option for all students. He also signed the Executive Order 20-82, stating the necessary face-coverage to attend school. Orono has worked and continues to work diligently to provide plans for all students under different circumstances.

“We are aware of a variety of health-related concerns among our families. Some parents have requested a home-based, distance learning option and we are committed to providing options to all students,” quoted from Back-to-School Options in Orono Schools.

Referring to the High School model, S.Cole mentioned the time restrictions that have resulted from the responsibility of delivering curriculum to students in and out of class.

“I do know that a lot of school districts have one distance learning everyday of the week for teacher planning, that seems to be where Orono was very different from the vast majority of the districts within the metro,” S. Cole states.

The Middle School has taken a different approach: students are currently only taking two classes per semester, english and global studies and math and science next semester, each period being one and a half hours. Students eat lunch in their classrooms in contrast to the High School.

“I like it a lot actually because it gives me a lot more time to really focus on my work instead of having all those classes to memorize. I think it’s a lot better and I think they should keep it.” C. Cole said.

“I like it a lot actually because it gives me a lot more time to really focus on my work instead of having all those classes to memorize. I think it’s a lot better and I think they should keep it.””

— Cameron Cole, 8th grader

The Intermediate and Elementary schools have decided to have all students back in school with the option of distance learning. A plan has been put in place to limit capacity in rooms, where a teacher lectures to one class while the other classroom is live-streaming and being supervised. Lunch also looks different for the little ones, as students stay in their classrooms for this time.

Prior to the school year, The Minnesota Department of Health announced specific guidelines including face masks and health screening requirements, with directions to produce three separate plans for the school year. Given this, the plans implemented all vary but all are effective and customized to each school. It is no doubt that the Orono teachers are working extremely hard to provide a curriculum to every student, whether at home or in class.

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