Returning after a year of virtual school

“I want to be here.” – senior Makenna Massey.

Spartanburg District One Schools offered Spartanburg One Online Academy (SOOA) all year last year, allowing students who did not feel comfortable attending in person an opportunity to take K-12 classes at home.

Some Chapman High students, along with myself, attended this academy. I attended my entire sophomore year. As a student who is involved in clubs and organizations such as student council, chorus and newspaper, I was more than ready to come back for the 2021-2022 school year.

There were definitely positives to this academy. With my personal experience, I had a lot more flexibility when I did my work. I train in a type of horse-riding called dressage, and the academy allowed me to be able to train in the mornings and do my classes at night.

Junior Anton Vasilevich agrees that there is some inherent flexibility in the model.

“You can work at any time and even get ahead if you want,” Vasilevich said.

But that flexibility isn’t the same as freedom.

Finance and computer science teacher Marie Johnson reminds us that by taking classes online, you still have to manage your time efficiently.

“You have to have time management skills,” Johnson said.

In the SOOA, you were instructed by both Landrum and Chapman High teachers. Johnson taught two finance classes online. Chapman and Landrum virtual lab teacher Frances Pack teaches all of her classes online and knows there is value in learning online.

“The pros are for the students,” Pack said. “I have students who can graduate early because they can take more than one class in a single class period.”

One of the key aspects of learning is having a readily available instructor.

Both Johnson and Pack mentioned they taught in person during the day and would focus on the online academy in the afternoons.

“It was every day for 3 hours after I got home,” Pack said.

The teachers were working just as hard as the students to make this hard time a little easier for all.

“All of my teachers were really understanding and easy-going,” Massey said.
As we come back for the 2021-2022 school year, both teachers and students are looking forward to in-person contact.

When asked if attending online classes again was an option, with no hesitation Massey responded with, “No, I missed it here too much. Whether it’s the football games, pep rallies, whatever. It’s nice to be back!”

I am in full agreement.

Seeing everyone on the first Monday back was the best feeling ever. I am looking forward to this “normal as normal can be” school year!