By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The middle of March marked the beginning of distance learning for students across Pacific Palisades.
Private schools, including Calvary Christian, Seven Arrows Elementary and Village schools, made the call to close campuses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the second week of March. Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner first announced districtwide plans for closure on Friday, March 13.
Many students are now relying on Schoology to communicate with their teachers and complete assignments, including Palisades Charter Elementary, Paul Revere Charter Middle and Palisades Charter High schools.
Under LAUSD guidance, teachers are responsible for holding office hours throughout the week where they make themselves available to provide support via phone calls, email or other virtual platforms.
Siblings Beau (sixth grade), Wyatt (fourth grade) and Caroline (second grade) Schinto, who attend Corpus Christi School, spoke with the Palisadian-Post to share their experiences and how they are handling this new way of learning.
The siblings are all currently using Google Classroom and Zoom for online learning.
“I have Zoom classes online, and I can see my peers and teacher at the same time,” Beau said. “They assign work and we talk about the work that we’ve done.”
The siblings expressed the beginning presented a few challenges.
“In the beginning, it was a little hard because we didn’t know what to do,” Wyatt said. “But it’s gotten easier.”
They are provided a weekly schedule with the dates and times of their classes. The family has also worked to create a schedule that mimics a regular school day, where the kids work in the mornings through lunch time.
Caroline shared the creative ways she has kept up with her peers while distance learning.
“I’ve been doing some virtual lunches with my friends,” she explained. “Virtual lunch is when you FaceTime your friend while having lunch at the same time. This has been pretty easy but sometimes it’s hard for me because I miss my friends.”
Wyatt has also coordinated Zoom meetings with his peers to do work together virtually.
“When we do that, instead of just talking, we do our work and get more done faster,” Wyatt said.
Emerson Meehan, a fourth grader at Calvary Christian School, also spoke to the Post about her experience with distance learning.
“The last day we got to prepare a lot, and we got all our books and brought them home,” Emerson said about her last day in-class before distance learning went into effect. “It took a day or two to understand how everything worked, but it’s been fun.”
Emerson follows her regular school-day schedule: She signs on at 8:30 a.m. for a virtual group session with her class, and checks in throughout the day with her work and assignments. Her classroom uses Seesaw for remote learning.
Emerson added that her teacher allows some time before and after class sessions for the students to catch up and talk with one another.
With the current Safer at Home order, LAUSD recently extended its campus closures through Friday, May 1.
Medical Director of Palisades Neurodevelopment Center Jim Varga offers his advice to families during this pandemic. He recommended having open, age-appropriate conversations with children to keep them informed and to take advantage of time spent together.
“You may want to use the increased time at home to spend quality time together,” Varga said. “Make an effort to have family dinners together, and while the conversation about the virus may be unavoidable, try to steer the conversation to other topics.
“Above all, we need to stay hopeful and positive, not only for ourselves but for our kids as well.”
If your student would like to talk with the Post about their experience with distance learning, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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