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Bear River offers solution to students with weak internet

Many students who don’t have internet access at home are able to work in Bear River’s theater during school. Photo by Maya Bussinger

Bear River High School began offering a new on-campus learning option to students who had little to no internet access at their homes on September 21. Some students took advantage of this opportunity since the school serves large, rural communities. 

Multiple students have shared their thoughts of the experiences with this new option so far including Junior Bella Gonzales who expressed conflicting thoughts.

“I’m sick of learning in my room so the change of environment has helped a lot and I can actually hear my Zoom meetings,” said Gonzales. “I like not having to stress about my internet, but if I’m going to do Zoom, I wish I could do it at home. I think once we go to hybrid [schedule], it will be a lot better. I think it’s a good option if you have bad internet at home.”

Compared to her experience of working at home, Junior Natalie Darr found that working from school didn’t make much of a difference.

It really hasn’t changed because even still at the school there are still problems,” she said. “But it is for sure a lot better than at home.”

Darr’s opinion of the option weighed both the good and bad. 

“My likes would have to be I get to see some of the people and my teachers which is nice but I don’t like how I wanted to get work done at home and I had to go to the school,” said Darr.

Students are expected to work only in the theater, as not enough students have come for the MPR to be needed.

Bear River Principal Christopher Roberts noted the lack of student attendance.

“I just wish more students would take us up on the offer,” he said. 

Substitute teacher Laurel Burcham also chimed in on the unexpectedly low amount of students that came to use the at school option, offering explanations. 

“It was opened up to a lot [of students]. We’re hoping that more kids will take advantage of it but there may be transportation problems. There could be problems we don’t know about,” said Burcham.

Principal Roberts continued to describe the working conditions students who utilize this option are provided with.

“The theater is a comfortable place to work,” he said. “The seats are comfortable and the area is clean and has AC. It’s quiet as well. It’s a good place to focus and get some work done.”

Mrs. Burcham also gave her opinion concerning on campus learning.

“It’s a great option for those who don’t have internet to come here,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for them to come down and have reliable internet and be able to go online without having the fear of losing connection.”

Concerns for the safety of students have caused many precautions to be put into place to protect against COVID-19.

“All measures are being taken to ensure student safety,” said Principal Roberts. “Masks are worn by students and staff. Gloves are worn by staff checking students in. Students are doing self-checks of symptoms at home before they come and students are being checked for symptoms when they arrive. Students have assigned spots to work which also helps for safety.”

Gonzalez was comfortable with the rules.

“I feel 100% safe.”

Junior Christian Kohlbeck and Darr commented on following these measures.

“It’s okay, I guess,” said Kohlbeck. “I don’t really have a problem with it.”

“I mean, yes, I feel safe as long as I keep my distance,” said Darr.

Principal Roberts ended with his favorite aspect of this on-campus learning option.

“I get to see the students and provide them with some much needed assistance at the same time!”

— Maya Bussinger contributed to this report.

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Bear River offers solution to students with weak internet