Chaos broke loose in the spring of 2020, and schools changed more than anyone would’ve guessed. On March 13, 2020, all Wisconsin schools were closed down by Governor Tony Evers because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Students ended up finishing the 2019-2020 school year through virtual learning.
Teachers like Mr. Fry at Potosi High School were waiting for an announcement from governor Evers on a Friday afternoon. When Evers did have a press conference to announce that all schools would be shut down, most teachers were already at home for the weekend. Schools were to be closed the following Wednesday. Mr. Fry was one of the few teachers left at school on Friday because of rehearsal for the play. He assumed that he would have a few days during the next week to make sure everyone was on the same page with starting virtual learning. That weekend, Potosi School District decided to shut down for Monday, before the Wednesday mandatory state-wide shutdown. Students and teachers were overwhelmed with this news, and adjusting right away to online learning was definitely a challenge.
A 2021 senior, Brooklyn Friederick, described the online learning process as “boring”. No one was prepared to start learning from home, so when schools were shut down, it was a rough adjustment from in-person classes. For some students, online learning was a struggle, while for others it was easier. Brooklyn was able to finish work at her own pace with virtual learning and when she was done, she had plenty of free time. When I asked her if online was easier, she commented that “In-person is easier though, because you can talk to your teachers, you have the instant communication.”
Communication is definitely a factor in how well online schooling works. For me, online school was very different last year. I went to Iowa-Grant High School my junior year, and virtual learning was not as structured as it was at Potosi High School. None of my classes had required Zoom meetings or had time periods that we had to work on certain classes, and I hardly had any communication with my teachers. Most teachers assigned all of the school work for the rest of the year with due dates, but late points were never taken off. I didn’t think virtual learning last year was very effective because it wasn’t very organized, but it was understandable with how fast we moved to being completely online. It was definitely not expected when the governor shut down all of the schools in the state. It’s needless to say last spring was a very stressful time for everyone.