2020-2021 school year marked by pandemic; schools look at impact on education

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – As we wrap up this school year, teachers and school districts are looking at how the pandemic impacted learning for the year and how it might look different for future learning.

With just a few weeks to go in the school year, some administrators say the evidence is clear just what kind of impact this had on education, and it looked different for everyone.

I do think that the barriers that were in front of us this year created some real struggles in education.”

TRENT JONES, COMMUINCATIONS DIRECTOR, SPRINGDALE SCHOOLS

Jones said virtual learning will still be offered next year through Don Tyson School of Innovation.

However, blended learning- where students learn in part on campus and at home- proved it does not need to be offered to all students next year.

“The option we’re having for next year for blended learning is for juniors and seniors who meet certain criteria- they’ll be eligible to take up to one class digitally,” Jones said.

Jones said as school faculty and eligible students are able to continue getting vaccinated, the district hopes to see more students back in the classroom next school year.

“For the most part, we need our kids to be face-to-face with us in some capacity.”

Jones said virtual learning did work well for some students, however. Fayetteville teacher, Michelle Wolchok said this is also something she has seen this year firsthand teaching all virtual classes.

It really afforded itself some opportunities that you just don’t have in a standard school year.”

-MICHELLE WOLCHOK, FAYETTEVILLE TEACHER

Wolchok said while there were learning challenges this year, they were mostly the same as any other year.

“I think being a virtual teacher, I’ve had to be very purposeful in what we’ve done, so that’s allowed me to keep on track,” Wolchok said. “Then small groups and the way we organize things- being allowed to have small groups virtually has helped me.”

Wolchok said while she will be back to teaching in-person in the fall, the 2020-2021 school year is one she will never forget.

I feel more bonded to students this year than I have in my 22 years.”

-MICHELLE WOLCHOK, FAYETTEVILLE TEACHER

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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