Learning through the pandemic at Meigs High School

A classroom at Meigs High School with desks marked off for social distancing for education during the pandemic. Photo by Madeline Shope.

Learning through the pandemic at Meigs High School

POMEROY, Ohio – Since March 13, 2020, the future of schooling has been changed forever due to the coronavirus pandemic. A year later with schools back in session, how have schools dealt with the new issues and stress that comes with COVID-19 guidelines?

Meigs High School has offered both blended and full online learning for all students. Students who are blended go to school in person for only three days a week while online students fully do their work and lessons over the internet. The only ones who are in the building all five days, are the teachers and staff. For the past seven months, teachers and staff have been adjusting the way they teach and how they prepare for their own lessons and policies. 

Travis Abbott has been the principal of Meigs High School for five years, teaching students Social Studies 15 years prior, has been working hard with staff and students to work through the coronavirus pandemic. When asked about how staff has been working through by COVID-19, Abbott said, “One thing I’m very happy with is how our staff has responded to this crisis. Everyone from custodians, cooks, bus drivers, secretaries and teachers have stepped up to the challenge.”

While the coronavirus guidelines have limited what staff and students do within the classroom, there are some positives when it comes to the pandemic. “If you look at it in a Social Studies background, we as people are connected to each other. A part of that comes from being forced to be apart, just how much it means to be together. We appreciate that now.” While the staff have been carrying this school year, Abbott is humble about the experience. He thanked the parents and students for their patience. 

While being the principal is one thing, what is it like to be on the frontlines in the classroom during this pandemic? Jim Oliphant has been a teacher at Meigs High School for the past 38 years and has never seen anything like this in his lifetime saying, “We never closed for a virus. I was surprised, everything just stopped.” When asked about what new stressors have emerged throughout this pandemic, Oliphant responded with, “The new stress and frustration was the technology and communication. If a kid needs help and they are all online, you can’t help them.”

While this year has been frustrating for both staff and students, when asked about the positives that have come about due to COVID-19, as said by Oliphant, “The cooperation with staff and students and parents has been the greatest thing about COVID. They (staff) have been able to work together. We made it work.”

While the future is still uncertain, Meigs High School will continue their blended and online learning for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year under the COVID-19 guidelines in place by Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health.  

Madeline Shope is an intern from Meigs High School and is working with the Meigs Independent Press.