Cohort C: What is it like being fully remote?

Cohort C: What is it like being fully remote?

Clay Belmarsh, Staff Writer

Due to COVID-19, the school year nationwide has been overall very weird. Here at Scituate High School, we have a hybrid plan in place along with most of Massachusetts. It consists of Cohort A, Cohort B, and the fully remote Cohort C. The first two cohorts take turns going to school: A Cohort students attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, while B Cohort attends on Thursdays and Fridays. This leaves Cohort C on Zoom or Google Meets for all four days. With limited attention from the teachers, Cohort C students have to work independently to comprehend the content of their lessons. Cohort C has a hard time doing what the other two cohorts get to do because of the lack of normal human interaction they get in any given week. 

Teachers are also finding cons within the system of Cohort C as they have to put in a much bigger effort to connect with these students online full time. Jaime Forde, a veteran math teacher at SHS, has tried many different ways to keep his at-home students engaged during class. One way he does this is by giving “a word of the day” and he can call out anyone on Zoom to say this word at any point to see if they are paying attention. Forde thinks the hardest thing about having Cohort C is “making sure they have the materials they need in order to succeed in class.” 

Alternatively, SHS physics teacher Geoff Gross says “[he] gets to lecture more as a result of the kids in Cohort C being home.” Forde and Gross believe that this can help the students academically because they have more time to practice these skills, but they would both rather see their students in class and making a personal connection with them.

Juniors Gretchen Voelger-Swain and Rosaline Vicente, who are both members of Cohort C, agreed that tests are one of the “hardest things to do at your house because of the distractions around you.” Some of the ways teachers are administering tests include through Google Forms or printing them out and sending them to the office to be picked up. Many AP assessments are available on AP Classroom through the College Board’s website. Voelger-Swain mentioned how difficult it is to engage in some classes. As a member of the band,  she states how “everyone gets to be in school and play together while I am at home by myself.”

Vicente and Voelger-Swain emphasized the difficulty of communicating primarily through email. Vicente explained how she had a hard time with her math homework and sent an email to her teacher, who responded two days later. Voelger-Swain explained that “[her] English and health teachers are the only two making a true effort to meet during office hours.” Vicente and Voelger-Swain both believe Wednesday office hours are extremely helpful in their understanding of class material.

Cohort A and Cohort B have a lot to learn about being fully remote, especially if COVID-19 forces all students to learn from home. Meanwhile, Cohort C will be ready if this happens because they have been doing it all year. The everyday routine that Cohort C students have been practicing is one that members of the other two cohorts will have to adapt to quickly, as the coming winter months may reveal.