On Friday, March 13th, Irvine Unified School District Superintendent Terry Walker announced that all IUSD schools would be making a transition to distance learning. This switch was meant to protect teachers and students alike from COVID-19 (coronavirus).
At the high school I attend, Woodbridge High, we started digital classes on Wednesday, March 18th. My younger sister’s digital classes started two days before mine. Most of her teachers have scheduled digital conferences to be held at least once a week.
Instead of conference calls with the teachers, Woodbridge High students have been assigned daily classwork, which is to be completed, scanned into PDFs, and submitted via Canvas or Google Classrooms. This new way of learning is drastically different from traditional high schools.
High school is a transition period from elementary and middle school learning to the university learning environment. With distance learning, students jump directly into a university learning environment, relying on self-control and self-teaching to learn new content and material.
Our schools and the College Board recognize the drastic change in our learning environment and its impact on students. Advanced Placement (AP) testing this year will be making adjustments to the test content. The tests will also likely be held digitally this year, taking away the non-multiple choice portions, such as free response or short answer questions.
I have many friends who are unsatisfied with their current SAT or ACT scores or have yet to take the tests. But, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the March SAT was canceled. The April ACT and SAT are both in danger of cancellation as well. Juniors will be applying to universities and colleges this fall, which means that we need to have taken ACT or SATs by that time.
Of course, focusing on educational anxieties feels selfish given the fact that our nation is in the middle of a pandemic. Most of us are safely at home, with our greatest worries centered around toilet paper. Hopefully, we can all use this time at home to focus on how lucky we are to be living here in Irvine, and think of ways to help give back to the community we love while adjusting to our new “normal.”