‘We have greater hope than we’ve had before’: Gonzaga Prep students continue remote learning until Jan. 24

SPOKANE, Wash. — More COVID cases have more schools going back to remote learning or contemplating it.

Gonzaga Prep students have been at home for the last week, set to come back to the classroom next Monday.

The school’s transition to remote learning “essentially happened overnight” according to Academic Vice Principal Derek Duchesne.

Classrooms were filled one day and empty the next as students were back on their computer screens — participating in what the school calls “synchronous learning”.

“The student population has had a lot of disruptions to their education. But they’ve also learned a number of different ways to learn,” said Duchesne. “And so it was a quick transition for them to and classes were firing up the next day and without kind of missing a beat and we’re still moving forward with new content and still preparing for finals.”

With too many students out sick or quarantining because of COVID, the decision to go remote was made so more students could come back on Jan. 24, ready to take college prep final exams and finish the semester strong.

Teachers have continued to prepare students from their classrooms using Google Meet.

But the transition back to this form of learning hasn’t been without challenges.

Gonzaga Prep’s Dean Of Students makes sure to keep in contact with students daily to see if they have the resources and support needed to participate in class virtually.

If not, there’s support for them in the library, learning resource room and academic success center.

As long as they’re healthy, students can re-enter the building and use these designated places for WiFi access, additional help with schoolwork and much more.

“I think our greatest challenge is engaging those students in those families and telling them that, yeah, they can come to school, they can learn from here in the meantime and in just engaging them and keeping them engaged,” said Duchesne.

Despite these challenges, Duchense says there’s hope in the fact that this is temporary.

“In the moment, it feels like a little bit of a loss. We’ve been working so hard to keep students in the building. It feels like a little bit of a loss,” he said. “But at the same time, we have greater hope than we’ve had before. That this is just going to be a small disruption to education and that we’ll be able to get back in person.”

Students will come back to school Monday, Jan. 24 for exam reviews before taking final exams on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26.

The school will also monitor how students and staff are doing, decide who needs to quarantine longer and help them transition from there.

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