RSD To Limit Courses Offered Online In The 2021-2022 School Year

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Media by Zara Tola

Steven Schmitt, math teacher, teaches his AP Calculus class. All AP classes will only be offered in person for the 2021-2022 school year.

For the 2021-2022 school year, online courses will be conducted completely asynchronous on an RSD made platform with RSD teachers. Lessons will be pre-recorded with one-on-one Zoom calls with students and teachers when needed. 

Some courses, including all AP classes, will only be offered in-person due to staff shortage concerns. 

Principal Dr. Steve Hankins said RSD staff looked at what courses they can offer, the curriculum and what they can staff online to decide the 2021-2022 online courses. 

Unfortunately, Dr. Hankins said, there isn’t any feasible way to run a hybrid setting with all courses being online and in-person. 

“Teachers are running out of stamina and we need to go back into that school environment,” Dr. Hankins said. “It just isn’t sustainable to ask teachers to do both online and in school courses at the same time.”

However, Dr. Hankins said the online course catalog will be big enough to meet the needs of students who want to have an average course load and students who want to stretch their limits.  

The online course offerings can be viewed at “Rockwood Online”.

“Teachers are running out of stamina and we need to go back into that school environment. It just isn’t sustainable to ask teachers to do both online and in school courses at the same time,””

— Steve Hankins

Shelly Justin, language arts teacher, said there are pros and cons to this decision but it mainly depends on the situation with COVID.

For learning and interacting with others, Justin said in-person classes work the best. 

“I really don’t want to teach both [in-person and online] at the same time,” Justin said. “It has been the most difficult form of teaching I have ever experienced, and I’m sure it’s been the most difficult form of learning for a lot of students too.”

Justin said she is not opposed to having sections of virtual classes as this form of learning fits certain groups of students, but it should be a true virtual experience with teacher interaction at all times.

Virtual learning has given students the opportunity to excel and feel safe and secure in their learning environment as well as appreciate school and learning, Justin said. 

“But no matter what, I think next year will be better because we as teachers and students will have settled in a bit and started to figure this whole thing out,” Justin said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes back to normal or at least as normal as possible next year.”

For Ritika Jagarlamudi, sophomore, the news of some classes being offered only in person didn’t change her decision for the 2021-2022 school year, as she was already planning to go in-person. Jagarlamudi is taking mostly AP and honors classes for her junior year. 

“I am a little hesitant,” Jagarlamundi said. “But next school year is months away, so hopefully it will be safer with vaccine distribution and masks.”

The decision is a fair choice, Jagarlamundi said, because the administration can only hire a few staff members and it’s hard on the teachers and students to be half virtual and half in-person. 

“Regardless, I’m excited to finally go back next year to see all my friends and teachers,” Jagarlamundi said.