Dover High logs on for first day of school

DOVER — There may not have been hugs with classmates, walking through the halls to classes or viewing a projector screen from one’s desk, but the first day of school at Dover High School felt “as real as it can be,” said Alexandra Baker, a sophomore.

“This is all kind of new,” she said. “So you’ve got to go with the flow.”

For many of the schools in the state, the day after Labor Day meant students were heading back to their classes, but the manner in which that occurred looks different depending on the district. 

In Capital, students will be virtual for the first six weeks before slowly phasing in a hybrid approach — a mixture of in-person and remote work. 

For Alexandra, the day started with Zoom lessons. The classes have been pretty short, with the students just getting to know their teachers, she said.  

“It’s going to be different but we can adjust to this, we can move with this and grow from this,” she said. “I feel as though I’m going to learn what I need to learn and build off into my future.”

Terri Crawford, a junior, woke up before her alarm clock on the first day. 

When she logged onto Zoom for her first class, she had some technical difficulties but, after that, the day went smoothly. Her schedule was full Tuesday — after her career and technical education nursing class to start the day, she had driver’s education, history, English and then psychology at the end of the day. 

It was an easy transition to starting online after the end of last year, when students began learning remotely in mid-March after numerous cases of coronavirus were first reported in the state, she said. The rigor this year, though, will be quite different.

“We haven’t been seriously in school, real school like this, since March,” she said. “Taking such a long break and then getting back in, you have to mentally prepare yourself, you have to stay motivated, you have to try to tell yourself to focus and stay on task and get all your work done early because procrastinating is not going to work. I have to get a set schedule, a notebook that has everything written in it because I just have to stay on top of my work.”

Like Alexandra, Terri missed the standard first day experience: being about to walk around the high school, getting the “classroom vibe and environment” and meeting new people. She’s hopeful those same relationships will be built with the teachers and her peers online.

“It’s been good. Pretty calm. My teachers are nice,” she said. “Some of the timing [of classes], you have to get used to it, but it’s only the first day. Overall, it’s actually going quite well.” 

Meanwhile, Shaneeda Shaw-Hicks, a certified nursing assistant instructor at Dover High, had her first day of school setting expectations for her students.

“For me, I thought it was wonderful,” she said. “I do feel like there is some tweaking that needs to be done — I’m sure for all teachers on every level — but for the most part, it would be fair to say that the students are just as eager to come back as the teachers were.” 

She said class participation was “greater than 95%.” As she navigates the rest of the first week, she knows it’ll take patience.

“I’m just making sure that I allow the students that time to voice what works for them, how I can make it work for them,” she said. “[I’m being] patient and taking my time and recognizing that Rome was not built in a day, but it was built.”

“As a sophomore,” Alexandra said she had some advice for the year ahead — virtual learning, hybrid, or anything in between.

“You will get through it by prayer,” she said. “By pushing. By having that responsibility. And by joining a club or something like that. Just be you and find who you are.”