Today, Raritan High School in Hazlet, New Jersey, along with hundreds of other high schools across the state, is approaching week six of lockdown.
“Going into this we had an emergency kind of meeting, saying we don’t know if we’re closing down. But, in the event we did, we need to start being proactive and try to figure out how our classes are going to change.” Erin Gottesman says.
Erin Gottesman is a Visual Arts Teacher and Girls’ Track Coach at Raritan High School. Mrs. Gottesman has expressed the difficulties she has had to overcome, especially teaching hands-on courses like Sculpture and coaching a Track team.
“We are using a Google Classroom platform and we use that on a normal basis in school. We are very fortunate that the transition outside the classroom was a little bit easier,” she says. “Instruction has become a little bit impersonal because it’s all through online.”
Mrs,Gottesman feared losing engagement with her students amid this pandemic. “I didn’t want to just give them busy work,” she says. “It seems like it’s actually harder to students to produce a project during this time versus my other classes, at that time, who were doing written responses to artwork.” She is working to find a balance in whether it is more effective to assign more written work or more artwork.
Hayley Bove is a senior at Raritan High School and is concerned with how virtual learning is impacting her quality of education.
“Online learning, for me, is a very difficult thing to get used to due to the fact I’m a very hands-on learner,” she says.
Another major factor being impacted by the pandemic is high school athletics. Taylor Calicari is a senior on the Softball Team and has no idea how her season will continue.
“I might not even have a senior softball season, so knowing that is very upsetting.” she says.
Mrs. Gottesman and her fellow coaches have made great efforts to keep their athletes involved and active.
“We do weekly schedules of what we expect them to do. We have a workout plan to for sprinters, distance runners and throwers. A lot of walking lunges, body squats, because at home, who has weights?”
There have been talks of an extended spring season, but Mrs. Gottesman says there haven’t been any decisions made yet.