Norwin integrates synchronous learning


Fleckenstein, Brian

Live ZOOM sessions of all classes to be broadcast daily in all buildings.

Ashley Cramer, Writer

 As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Westmoreland County the Norwin School District is having to adjust their operational model. 

      On Dec.3 Superintendent Dr. Jeff Taylor announced that grades K-6 will be returning to the hybrid model on Dec. 7 while the Middle and High School will be remaining virtual for the remainder of Dec. 

     “Even though COVID-19 is not being transmitted in our schools, it is certainly being transmitted in the Norwin community,” said Taylor in his email on Dec. 3. “Unfortunately, the high level of Norwin community transmission is impacting our employees.”

     Much of the reason for the Middle School and High School remaining virtual is because of the lack of teachers and substitutes available to teach.

     Taylor also announced that beginning on Dec. 7 synchronous learning will take effect. Synchronous learning will require students to report to each class period throughout the day just as they would in school. 

     This announcement has been met with concerns from students and parents. Many students have shown concern over the amount of work that will be assigned aside from attending class virtually.

     “They not only expect us to do all our online work but also to go to Zoom meetings when we could be doing work,” said Julie Chenot, a junior at Norwin High School. “Do they not realize some of us have lives to live outside of school?”

     Many parents with younger kids are expressing their discontent with the decision to switch to synchronous learning.

    “This is not realistic for elementary students who do not have a large attention span,” said parent Megan Yunn during the school board meeting on Nov. 25.  “We no longer have a choice regarding our children’s learning. My fear is that if we go fully online we will never return to any in person model.”

     One of the few things that many people who want to remain virtual and people who want full in person learning can agree on is that synchronous learning will only handicap students’ learning . 

    However, some people see the upside of synchronous learning to be that it is more safe for students and staff.

     “I think synchronous will end up being worth the struggle because it will protect those who might be at high risk from getting COVID,” said Victoria Hua, a junior at Norwin High School. “It’s difficult to learn online but if you are committed enough you can work through it.”

     As students, teachers, and parents anticipate the beginning of synchronous learning, the District is continuing to work towards finding new ways to connect Norwin students to school without furthering the spread of COVID-19.