Teens struggle with education during coronavirus pandemic

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Due to Governor Bill Lee’s recommendation to close Tennessee schools for the remainder of the year, there is a new concern for how students with a limited access to technology are expected to receive education. The recommendation to cancel school for the 2019- 2020 school year was announced April 15th .

Since this is a recommendation and not an order, the decision will ultimately be up to school districts. However, recommendations from Governor Lee in the past have been followed.
The Tennessee Department of Education has stated, “In the event of natural disaster or serious outbreaks of illness affecting or endangering students or staff during a school year, the law authorizes the commissioner of education (Penny Schwinn), to waive for that school year requirement of 180 days of classroom instruction”, on their information page concerning
COVID-19.

This waiver seems to be the answer, but not much information has been given on the subject. For now, it is believed that all state standardized testing such as End of the Year Exams (EOCS) and TCAP are canceled for this year.

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With this information, the question remains: How are students expected to be motivated during this time where boredom and lack of information seem prevalent?

The Tennessee Commissioner of Education has recommended parents utilize the STE(A)M Portal Hub, a website that provides weekly “challenges” for students in grades 3-12.

When interviewing two Juniors from Huntingdon High School, Seth Lamar and Jaeden Arnold, I asked about the STE(A)M Portal Hub and the website seems to not provide a significant source of learning for high school students. Both students seemed to describe the website as “not as engaging as regular school.”

One Huntingdon High School Senior, Addison Postlethwait, described her concern for how she will be able to connect with other students during this time of quarantine. Students have also described their “a lack of motivation”, concerning the cancellation of high school spring sports. Overall, students have been out of school for around 5 weeks and is now feeling directionless and uneasy concerning their future. Although students’ feelings of distress are felt throughout the county, the blame cannot be on the education system due to the unknowingness of this global pandemic

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