Public High School Navigates COVID-19 Public High School and COVID-19

Stratford High School in South Carolina is facing unique challenges this year.

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (NCC News)  — Stratford High School in Berkeley County School District is just one of the thousands of public schools across the nation navigating education and the COVID-19 pandemic. From re-worked traffic patterns for student drop off to daily temperature checks, the faculty and students of Stratford High are facing the challenges of education during a global public health crisis.

Students were presented with three learning options before school officially started Sept. 8.

“We have the traditional, which is face-to-face. It’s actually what it sounds like, five days a week,” said Principal Heather Taylor.  “And then we have true virtual and then there is what we call blended.”

For students attending in person, masks are strongly encouraged in spaces where six feet of social distance is difficult to maintain. Masks may come off in the classroom where desks are spaced six feet apart. Students said school just does not feel the same.

“We don’t have lunch in the cafeteria anymore which is very different,” Merari Roque, a senior at Stratford High, said. “The amount of students is really different.”

Students that chose to learn from a blended virtual distance tune in live to their classes. Teachers have been faced with the challenge of engaging with students both in the classroom and on the screen.

“I’ve had to change all of my previous teaching materials because now I need to provide teaching in a way that will engage students at home and in the classroom,” Michelle Gorritti, a foreign language teacher, said.

Approximately 900 students opted into in-person learning, while just over 200 students decided to take classes completely online. All students in Berkeley County School district will not finish the semester until January of 2021.

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