Covid School Year - aka, I had hope, which is now lost :-(

Well what we thought we were heading to and what has actually transpired the last few weeks is somewhat maddening. My son is a senior this year, and the school talked all summer like there would be a hybrid model of schooling involving some onsite and some offsite each day. In actuality they have said there will be no onsite until after Christmas at the earliest. Even worse in order to accommodate the new type of schooling after Christmas they are only allowing 15 kids into each class. And they aren’t making a bunch of online only sections, so my son is scheduled for two classes a quarter and nothing else. This is down from 7 a semester, so basically 1/2 of the regular number of classes. That means that instead of the 5 AP classes he forecasted for, he only got two. And he only has 2 classes at a time, which is better than some other seniors who only have one class and one we even found that has zero classes for one quarter. Quarter one he has a phy ed class from 8:30 - 10:00 and a math class from 2:30 - 4:00. Not exactly the demanding schedule select colleges are looking for in their top students. So now, we have to pay for him to also attend community college to show that he has some rigor in his schedule. Which would have been fine, but the school didn’t release their schedule (with no hint that we would have a reduced schedule) until after the deadline to apply for the school to pay for the community college program. Just lovely. And to think I actually had some hope…stupid parent…


@Chris … you’re definitely not stupid, more so you had/have hope things would work out and hope is never a bad thing. I have hope this will all work out and our children and their parents will find success in the days, months, and years to come!


I guess we’re fortunate that our kids have been given very full on-line schedules just as if they were in the classroom…the only difference here is that it’s 100% virtual. Sounds like your school didn’t plan appropriately or something. Kids may love less work, but as the old saying goes…if it doesn’t sting in the front it may sting in the back (what may not hurt now, may hurt later down the road.)

Sorry your going through tough times with the scool. We have 4 in our house right now doing 100% virtual…it’s a struggle just finding spots where they can not interfere with the others. Our oldest is attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaigne, but he’s 100% virtual this term as well.

Because we have an autistic son who would usually benefit from the special teacher who specializes in helping him out during school classes, my wife has taken on that role…she has to pretty much sit with him all day during his classes to make sure he does what’s being prompted to do (w/o throwing a fit. lol).

I’m helping out with Liam’s day and Conor, our 7th grader is pretty self-sufficient.

They were all given Chromebooks and they log into something called “Canvas” where they do all their work…our county seems to have done everything they need to make our at-home experience as seemless as it can be. There are still technical difficulties with internet at times (living in the country downsides) and other technical issues that rear their ugly heads during the worst of times usually.

I hope things get better for you and your family! I’m sure as they see how things are going they will adapt and make the necessary changes as needed!


Yes, they offered a fully online or a hybrid. But in classic style, they capped the number of kids in the class and didn’t create online only classes where they could put more kids in. So they essentially split the teachers in half, and then capped the number of kids that could be in a class. Then delayed the release of schedules three times, until there isn’t enough time to complain or change before school starts. Typical bullshit that we thought our district was better than. It doesn’t take a moron to figure out that just like every college schedule there needs to be a large number of online only sections with a large number of students in order to make this work reasonably. Instead we got the lowest common denominator solution endorsed by our teachers union where they minimally meet their obligation to educate, and teachers get to teach 60% of the classes they normally do…

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Btw - Congrats on getting the first one into college. Milestones… My first born is in his second year at Purdue, but is on campus because the AF is paying a big part of it, and they demand the kids be onsite.


Second, but thanks! My oldest child (daughter who lives in Germany) has already graduated and given me a grandbaby! She’s going on 27.

I WANTED my son to do ROTC, but he’s not into it. :frowning: I told him the 11 years I spent in and the GI Bill and Post 9-11 GI bill were VERY helpful and the service wasn’t bad. 4 combat deployments and yeah, I could have died…but you can die every morning you wake up and get into a car. But he’s not the military type so he said no. :frowning:


Yeah, mine was very excited to be in the military, and the 100k they offered to defray his education costs only made the deal sweeter. It has made Purdue cost the same as our in-state alternatives, although Purdue is a much much better university, especially for mechanical engineering. Sorry, I knew in the back of my mind you had the older daughter, but your comment triggered my memory of your college search thread a few years back. My brain works in strange ways.


One thing that’s hard about this is that it takes substantially more time/effort on the part of the teachers to prepare and offer online courses, if done properly, and in at least some districts offering hybrid models, the same teachers are expected to teach both in person classes, sometimes even more than usual due to number caps, and the online components, while hiring freezes prevent the necessary staff increases to actually do that well. It’s why it’s probably not a great solution without considerable hiring increases. I know I usually teach a summer course through my university, and they offered the possibility of doing it online, but it would have been way more work for less pay, so no thanks, since that’s an optional add-on gig for me. Teaching online is hard if you want to do it well.

It’s a shame IMO that many districts are feeling so much pressure to have in person school, despite that it’s unlikely to be workable in most places this fall (and accordingly, plans are already changing last minute and will continue to do so), that they could not have spent the summer committed to a largely distance plan and prepping for it. Where I live is still planning on entirely in person schooling in most districts, and I fully expect enough outbreaks to shut that down within a month or so, given that many of the schools are already overcrowded and have poor ventilation, and no amount of masks or hand sanitizer is going to make that safe enough.


So I am a certified online instructor and have an instructional design certificate, and I do realize that teaching online can be a difficult transition especially for classes that were not designed to be that way from the start. My problem is that they are capping the enrollment in these online classes really low. If they are committed to the hybrid model, no problem, they are also offering online only, but the hybrid kids can’t access the online only classes. This is stupid. Ridiculously stupid. Especially in Math and Science the tests can be created and graded with very little work. At Purdue my son took a math class with 1200 kids. Surely the school district could have figured out that to make the hybrid model work they needed to offer very large online only classes to fill in the gaps and they were already committed to delivering these in any case.

Edit - It should also be noted that my district is in a very enviable position with millions of dollars in additional community support every year in addition to a very healthy budget and not having to lay off any of the teachers or large support staff during Covid because we fund the school really well. Which is why the decisions are even more surprising to me.


Yeah that does seem odd and poorly organized for sure. I suspect colleges admissions depts in general are going to have base a lot on academic records pre-COVID, since it’s going to be so variable how things work this year. Good that your son is getting additional college-level classes; that sucks that you have to pay for them.

My good friend is a teacher in the NYC school system, and it’s a mess there–teachers currently expected to teach both the hybrid and online sections of their classes, with the hybrid parts split into alternating days present. There they do have a hiring freeze, so even though they didn’t lay off anyone, they essentially just doubled all teachers’ workloads, so the effect is similar.


UGH! I’m so sorry! I have ALL the sympathy. Your son must be so disappointed, and it’s ridiculous to expect any school to interpret transcripts with all this nonsense with any sense of clarity. I’m glad he has the option of community college. It’s a bummer, but at least it’s a viable one.
Our school district told us not to expect classes till January, but our health department is basically nudging them and saying that the lower grades should be able to open for in-person classes in mid-September. Our test positivity rate is 2.5% and we are testing more than most cities in the US.

We are now living in the surreal situation where people CAN pay $2k a month to send their kids to private pods, with the same number of students, where they log into computers to have their teachers “teach” remotely for half an hour a day.

It’s all pretty ridiculous. Anyways, so much sympathy. This pandemic has been pretty depressing in revealing how broken everything is in our country.


Yes, they offered a fully online or a hybrid. But in classic style, they capped the number of kids in the class and didn’t create online only classes where they could put more kids in. So they essentially split the teachers in half, and then capped the number of kids that could be in a class. Then delayed the release of schedules three times, until there isn’t enough time to complain or change before school starts.

It’s kind of shocking that with all the math teachers in the house, no one crunched the numbers to figure this out…

I’m really pissed off at our teacher’s union too. I feel like they’re also inadvertently hurting their members, by insisting on ridiculous constraints that will make people flock to other options.


yep. I mean the online courses shouldn’t match with the typical class size of 25 or whatever which is how our district is doing it. There should be at least 100+ kids in these online classes, and most of the curriculum should actually be recorded. My kids get *nothing out of the zoom classes and most of the actual curriculum is taught via pre-recorded “loom” videos. And then the only “synchronous” time should be office hours for kids who are having trouble.

So, say, 10-15% of teachers could be used for 50% of the kids online, and the remaining 85% of teachers can be spread out across many campuses teaching smaller cohorts in person.


Here it’s almost back to normal. Covid has had a less significant impact on our community and hospitals, compared to more densely populated areas. For K-12, options were offered for online only education, which about 10 to 15% of students are doing. The others are attending in person, with masking in hallways, and in certain classes, etc.

Our youngest three are attending in person, grades 7, 9, 11. Two of them are running 5Ks on the cross country team, and have their second meet today. Kids are required to mask on the bus, and other measures are put in place to try to reduce risk.

Our oldest is attending UMary at Bismarck, which is classified as a low risk school, so there again, mostly in person instruction with options for online education.

So far, so good. We haven’t started winter yet, though, that could change everything.


Thank you TiaG, that is exactly what is making me so exasperated. Well that and when my son reached out to get some classes added to his schedule the counselor said, Nope, you have everything we can get you unless you want advanced foods and nutrition. Which would not be all that helpful for a kid trying to show rigor and challenge in his schedule.


Wow. That is low.

FYI, this is what we are dealing with with K, who is a sophomore. He still got the 6 classes he asked for, of which I think 3 are APs. But there are taught in 4 week units, 3 at a time, with a little more time per unit (70 minutes instead of 50). So the outcome is that none of these classes will be able to cover the curriculum. It is a significant issue for the AP classes, where they will get tested, and for the classes that have a 4-year cycle, like Math.

The outcome is that we are going to have to work really hard at completing the curriculum at home. We are exploring tutors and group pods. But none of it will be easy.

On the other hand, I think that school districts are having a really hard time doing even what they are proposing. I see how little tech awareness some of the teachers have: they are having a really hard time teaching online, which frustrates K, who spent two years in a really good online school when we were traveling.

Btw, all the classes are online. No hybrid model right now, although that may become possible later.


We are exploring tutors and group pods. But none of it will be easy.

We are too. It’s too hard for me to work full-time, monitor both kids’ schooling and make sure they get things like outdoor time as well. But it obviously sucks for parents who can’t do this stuff.


I can assure you it’s not any better for special ed kids than it is for AP


I am so sorry @Chris. I recall your district’s original plan, which sounded amazing. We had the opposite experience for my older daughter – a completely crummy first plan, which (long story short…) led us to unenrolling her from the public school system, filing a “homeschooling” plan, and entirely enrolling her in a local university (“dual enrollment” program), which will mimic her 11th grade/junior year curriculum. Once all of that was complete, our town’s schools changed plans to one that would have been acceptable (pretty much what we had been advocating for), but we had a family meeting and our daughter was firmly decided to give the college courses a try. It’s a big unknown and could be a huge challenge, but I think she is up for it and we are ready to support her.

But, like many, I guess, our public school system also completely screwed up on evaluating its resources and figuring out the allocation of teachers and had to backtrack when, if they had planned appropriately, there would have been so much less angst and heartache. I do not blame our teachers – I fully blame the administration for horrible planning, communication, and implementation. Incredibly frustrating.

I hope that your son will get the coursework that he needs/deserves through the resources you’ve cobbled together. This year is going to be challenging for everyone, so I think anything that you and he are doing out of the box to seek out additional learning/challenge for him will be viewed positively. He is lucky to have a strong advocate on his side. (I also feel awful for so many kids who will be clearly falling through the cracks and am hoping to use some of my daughter’s “homeschooling” time to figure out how we can be of help to those kids.)

Best of luck with the start of the school year for everyone – Jessica


Thank you Jessica.