Science & Covid - A careful balance by Zabrina Chant
Have you been in a Science class since COVID-19 started? It isn’t quite the same. My name is Zabrina Chant and I’m a grade 10 student who interviewed a few different science teachers like Ms. Weir, Mr. Burgess, and Mr. Moore, and got some of their opinions on some new protocols.
On Tuesday December 15, 2020 I interviewed Stephanie Weir, a science teacher who teaches a lot of grade 12 students at Canterbury High School. I first started by asking Mrs Weir: In your own opinion how do you like these protocols?
“The protocols are necessary for health purposes but makes it way harder to do labs and it makes it harder to help students,” said Ms. Weir. “These protocols have affected labs, making it harder to ensure all students are socially distant and it’s harder to help students when us teachers aren't supposed to touch a students class materials we also can’t get to close and have to respect the two meters.”
After Ms. Weir’s reply I then began to ask her, what are some of the new protocols in a science class?
“To ensure that students and staff are safe us teachers are trying alternatives for labs like online or a demonstration at the front of the class, teachers are now required to sanitize all materials being used by students before and after each use, students are to do experiments individually which makes it harder to help my students, students are asked to stay at their assigned work bench and everyone is to get their own individual materials,” Ms Weir stated. “It now takes double the time to set up labs for my classes instead of making labs for big groups I am now making labs for every individual in my class, although the classes aren’t big it still takes double the time having to measure all the materials out that need a certain amount and making sure each students has the necessary materials to do the lab.”
During my science class I Interviewed Robert Burgess while we had a break. “What are some of the new protocols?" I asked. Mr Burgess, a grade 9 & 11 science teacher quickly said, “Labs are only allowed to have a max of two students, students are to be standing on different sides of the work space, they are also reminded to keep a 2 meter distance between themselves and now with the new protocols teachers are now required to sanitize all of our experiment materials like test tubes, beakers and plenty more materials.”
“It now takes double the time to set up labs for my classes instead of making labs for big groups I am now making labs for every individual in my class." -- Science teacher Stephanie Weir
What is your opinion on the new science protocols?
“My opinion on the new protocols is I don’t like them, but they are necessary and effective.”
Have the protocols affected your teaching or how you would plan a day?
“The protocols affect timing of the lessons especially when we do labs because now it takes double the time to get everything set up for every individual student or every pair. It also affects the organization of the overall four hour day, us teachers try to get everything done in the amount of time we have.”
During the week December 13th-19th 2020 Mr Philip Moore was interviewed about science protocols.
What new protocols are now in place due to Covid-19?
“Well to start we can’t have students close together in a classroom all desks are now separated and students are to sit in every other desk, teachers now have to sanitize everything before and after each use and to me labs are a no go they aren’t the same they aren’t as hands on.”
What is your opinion on them?
“To me the protocols are necessary. It's a world pandemic right now, they are in place to ensure everyone’s safety, students aren’t learning as much and certain grades are going to be affected more.”
Have these new protocols affected your teaching?
Mr. Moore replied “100% science labs should include investigating but it’s hard to investigate when you must social distance, can’t do labs as frequently as I would like and the protocols cut down on students interacting with each other.”
How long does it take to set up labs for individual students? “It definitely takes longer than it would take to set up labs for groups.”
Now you have seen what it’s like in a science class in the Covid-19 times. All the teachers could agree that they don’t like the protocols but they are necessary to ensure everyone’s safety, teachers are doing everything they can to keep classes interesting and safe at the same time.