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Zoom School Katrina Melvin & Adam Sedgeman

Faith Jones rolls out of bed no earlier than 9:00 a.m., brushes her teeth, and takes her daily medication before making her way downstairs to eat breakfast. While doing so, she usually watches The Office on Netflix or scrolls around on her phone until 9:25 a.m. when she gets Zoom set up at her kitchen table for her first class of the day, starting at 9:30.

And she does all this while wearing her pajamas from the night before because she doesn’t feel the need to get dressed up for virtual school in the middle of a global pandemic.

This, however, is far different from Faith’s morning routine last school year when she would wake up around 6:50 a.m. and spend about 20 minutes getting ready for the day. In addition to taking her medication and brushing her teeth, her routine also consisted of changing her clothes, fixing her hair, and finally, applying some makeup. She would then go downstairs to grab some breakfast so she could eat in the car or when she got to school. Jones would plan to leave her house around 7:15 a.m. so she could get to school by 7:40 a.m. and have time to socialize with her friends before class started at 8:00 o’clock.

"...The first week has been a very slow start since we all getting used to the online setting", senior Faith Jones said.

The first few weeks of virtual learning have been different for everyone. These weeks may have been scary, stressful and confusing. For some it was easier due to the ability to ease into the schedule.

Along with experience, everyone also has a different background for their zoom calls. Whether that be a blank wall or an aesthetically-pleasing background with lights and colors and maybe a even painting or a poster, students have made their own personal school spaces.

The Squall reached out to a handful of students from all grades along with some DHS staff members to see how the beginning of virtual school has been going as well as how they set up their individual Zoom spaces.

“The first week of zoom classes went well," Spanish Teacher Ms. Elizabeth Kur said. "It felt strange and different not to see a lot of the students while I was teaching, but it was great to see students in a video assignment later. I was impressed by the Zoom attendance rates and how well the students participated during the sessions. I think Dexter students are doing a great job adapting to this difficult situation."

Sam Gibson, Freshman

“So far I've liked this schedule a lot. I feel like the asynchronous time is really good, and the workload hasn't been too bad in my opinion. I was homeschooled for grades 7 and 8, so it's pretty similar to what I was already doing. I've just been zooming in my room because it's quiet."

Lacy Martin, Freshman

“So far my experience with virtual school is far less stressful because the assignments aren't as strict as they are at school considering some of my homework assignments aren't due until a week from today. However, I feel like it has been hard for me to sit in my room all day and stare at a computer screen instead of being in a classroom learning."

"In my zoom space, I sit on my bed with a fold-up table as my desk. I have paintings hung up in my room along with a calendar. I choose to be where I am because it is the one spot in my house where there would be the least amount of distractions near me.”

Mr. Kit Moran, DHS Principal

“My office at DHS; It's the best office in the district," Moran said with a laugh. "I have a great view, lots of space, and lots of light. I do most of my Zooming here and have been since June. I need to be in the building to make sure lots of other things are getting taken care of. Although, I do enjoy the occasional 'beach' or 'mountain' scene as a Zoom background when I'm getting Zoomed out.”

Quinn Hilla, Sophomore

"So far virtual school has been pretty boring, but I do like the flexible schedule," Hilla said. She works from her room which is nice because she can lay on her bed during class.

Owen Ackerman, Sophomore

“Virtual school has been pretty nice so far," Ackerman said. "The class lengths and times in between class are good and the homework is manageable. My Zoom space is just my bedroom. I have lots of interesting things in the background and sometimes I can hear the birds singing outside which is really enjoyable. I use my room for class because I have plenty of space and I'm out of the way from my siblings that are also in class.”

Sophomore Chloe Sprague, said week one of virtual school has not been as bad as she expected it to be. She really likes having the student work time in between classes. For zoom calls, she sits at a desk in her room. She is at her desk in her bedroom so she can have her own space away from distractions. The background in her zoom calls is a mural that wraps around her entire bedroom.

"Week one was pretty good," sophomore Hannah Schultz said. "[It was] a little boring, but I expected that because we were only just starting to learn the program. I was fueled by adrenaline the whole time, mostly because it was new and something to do. I do Zoom calls in my bedroom. I’m just there because I have a desk in my room and it’s away from family."

Junior Olivia Steinert’s week one experience consisted of dressing nice for two days and then switching to PJ pants and hoodies. She likes having breaks in between classes so she can finish work and then chill.

"Breakout rooms are quite awkward, but that will get better with time," Steinert said.

Olivia sits at her desk in her room and has LED lights in her background that she usually puts on blue. She’s in her room because then she doesn’t get bothered by her family or pets.

Archer Horner, Junior

“Online school is honestly so easy, even though I have AP and IB classes, only 45 minutes per class is like 'school lite.' I’m definitely for online school; 2.25 hours versus 6 hours of school a day is awesome.”

Junior Maddi Valentine said her week one experience was alright but kind of boring on Zoom. There is one major positive for Valentine: she doesn’t have to wake up super early. Valentine sits at her kitchen table because there is more space than in her room. She says her Zoom space is not really significant other than the fact that she has her dog, Frank, with her during school.

Grace Gusoff, Senior

Senior Grace Gusoff had a “slow” first week. Her Zoom space is in her room that she repainted and reorganized in preparation for the school year. She has expressed some mild frustration over sharing a wall with her younger siblings watching Scooby-Doo in the next room, but she thinks the school year is going well.

Quentin Hurdle, Senior

"I wish we were back in school, but for now, this works," senior Quentin Hurdle said. "It took me a day or two to understand and get used to it but now that I’m used to it it’s easier. I have a desk in my room with my computer always plugged in so it doesn’t die. I have a lamp just in case I need to show my face and it’s clear. I have a notepad and my planner on either side of my computer so I can write down homework and take notes."

Most DHS students participating in a Squall survey said that their first experience was mostly positive. Some enjoy shorter school days to have more time for homework and their own free time while others like the flexible scheduling that online classes have to offer.

The Zoom space of senior Nick Wilkerson.

Students who are not in favor of online school had various explanations. “It’s hard for me to sit… all day and stare at a computer screen” and “Virtual school has been pretty boring" were two responses.

But the one thing that Dexter students all seem to like is being able to have their own zoom backgrounds and having the authority to decorate and design them however they prefer. Zoom backgrounds so far have been a big influence with online school.

Mr. Jaime Dudash, History Teacher

Due to the more reliable network connection for his Zoom meetings, Mr. Jaime Dudash is working from the school It also helps his two kids and partner have a better connection at their home. Dudash also noted the quieter atmosphere at DHS.

Mrs. Tracy Stahl, Psychology Teacher

"The first week of school this year felt surprisingly similar to the first week of past years; It was awkward, hectic, and exciting," Stahl said. "The awkwardness of talking about myself to a room full of strangers (or rather, this year, a computer screen full of boxed faces and names), the bustle of change, and the excitement of teaching psychology was still there in our virtual classroom. I was also saddened to not be back in the building, but I'm staying positive and hopeful for a quick return."

"Most often my Zoom space is a blank and sage color wall in my kitchen. My hope is that the blank wall at my kitchen table offers a distraction-free background. I also like it because the space offers me a large table to spread out my papers, binders, and laptop. It might surprise you, or maybe not, but I don't have a home office or a personal desk at home."