Wilson has contingency plan for virtual learning

Leah Perlmutter

Interim Principal Gregory Bargeman confirmed that Wilson is prepared to switch back to remote learning, if cases continue to rise, with the new 4×4 schedule and the online resources given to teachers.

Following the outbreak of Omicron, over 50 students at Wilson tested positive for COVID-19 the week before winter break. Many students and teachers did not feel safe coming to school the Monday and Tuesday before the break, resulting in Wilson going virtual on Wednesday, December 22. 

With the transition back to in-person learning, Principal Gregory Bargeman assured that the school is prepared to return to virtual learning, if necessary, a decision made by the central office of DCPS.

“We have designed our schedule, four classes at a time, so it is easy to switch over to virtual learning. Teachers are also putting all of the assignments on Canvas to make the switch easier,” Bargeman said. 

“In virtual learning, I think that the 4×4 schedule did help because switching between every class every other day online would be so chaotic, it would not work, ” Junior Jacob Shapiro said. In a recent survey sent out to Wilson’s parents, students, and faculty, 72% of people preferred a full-year schedule, while 26% of people preferred a 4×4 schedule. Despite this debate over the 4×4 schedule, it did make the switch to virtual learning easier during the school year of 2020-2021, as students only had to worry about switching between four classes each semester online as opposed to eight.  

Although it was unclear whether a hybrid format was an option for Wilson, Shapiro prefers hybrid learning over going back all virtual. “I feel like hybrid [learning] could be a good option if done properly, but all virtual learning would take too much of a toll on students”. 

Chemistry teacher Will Gomaa agreed that virtual learning greatly affected the mental health of students: “being together in person with other people is important for mental health reasons . . . we don’t discuss how much we ask students to sacrifice,” Gomaa said.

Despite the challenge of balancing student mental health, Gomaa feels equipped to switch to online learning, if necessary, “I would be prepared to pivot to remote teaching, I do have a lot of materials that are online,” Gomaa said, one of them being Canvas, which he plans on using again for remote learning. 

In the meantime, in order to prevent the switch back to virtual learning as a whole, the administration plans to continue updating Wilson families and teachers on positive cases among students and faculty, “We will continue to provide data to students and families about our positive cases and how many we have . . .  hopefully everyone will feel safe because they will know everything that’s going on,” Bargeman said. •