Pandemic Albums: Quarantine from a fully remote perspective

While my sister works hard on doing her school work, my brother decides to spend his break bothering her by commenting on what she is working on.

Jadyn Jacobs

While my sister works hard on doing her school work, my brother decides to spend his break bothering her by commenting on what she is working on.

Jadyn Jacobs, Photographer

I am one of about 60 Algonquin students who are in the full remote program, and I’m in eleventh grade. When I first started full remote, it was stressful and bizarre, but now I have gotten used to it. It actually feels boring. Every day feels the same. When my parents first told me I would be going full remote, none of it had been planned out yet. I didn’t even know if Algonquin would provide a full remote option. I may have had to do a program that wasn’t connected to Algonquin. At first I was upset, but I knew that if I had been given a choice I probably would have chosen to do the same thing. I was worried about safety, and I believed that I would be less stressed being fully remote because I’m germaphobic. This year has been hard for me, but I try to keep the good things in mind during this difficult year.

My mom who is an Educational Support Professional at one of the elementary schools monitors the chat on Zoom so that she can answer questions while the teacher teaches the lesson. (Jadyn Jacobs)

One of the things that has been fun about going remote has been seeing my siblings in school and my mom teaching. Watching my sister, Kasey who’s in eighth grade, doing gym class in our living room is always funny because of how bizarre it is. It is also interesting to see what everyone else is learning, and sometimes my sister and I help each other on our homework.

This pandemic had definitely brought me and my siblings closer together. We have had many bike and car rides to talk to each other. Watching my brother David, a fourth grader, on Zoom is interesting too. During his Zooms, David will sit there and talk to whoever isn’t on a Zoom or to nobody at all. It can be hard to work in the same space as him, especially now that he is learning the recorder in music. Although he can be loud, he is less loud than 20 kids in a classroom, so I can usually block him out. I think we have also become closer during this pandemic because with all the time I have over the weekend; it’s easier for me to play with him now. 

My brother David puts a sign out on the table and points his computer down during his class, so his teacher knows that he is using the bathroom. (Jadyn Jacobs)

Hearing my mom, who is an Educational Support Professional at one of the elementary schools, teach has also been interesting. Sometimes when my mom is trying to figure out how to teach a certain thing, we give her ideas. It is also interesting to see how teachers throughout the grade levels are dealing with teaching on Zoom. One of the things I have found most interesting is my brother’s teacher has them tilt their computer down and put out a sign in order to let her know that they are going to the bathroom.

One of my favorite things about doing stand alone remote is that during gym class when it was warm, I would go on a walk. It was nice to be by myself and outside. I don’t normally get outside during school. I feel like being able to get outside and having time to be in my own thoughts has helped me with my school work especially since I’m an introvert. I think part of the reason online school has seemed easier is because I can get time to myself to recharge. In school, I was around people all the time and this left me emotionally drained, which made it harder to focus on school. In full remote, I am only around my family, and I feel like I have more freedom, which allows me to take breaks in my room when I need to.

A squirrel races across the street near me during the morning walk I take for gym class. These walks always clear my head, and it’s nice to wave to a neighbor every once in a while. (Jadyn Jacobs)

One of the hardest parts about stand alone remote learning is seeing and hearing about everyone’s pets. I don’t have any pets, but love animals and really want one. There have been times I have heard or seen other people’s pets on my zoom or my family members’ zooms, and I have had to work hard not to break down and cry. I hear about people getting pets all the time because of COVID, and it breaks my heart every time. One of the things that helps me is my job as a pet sitter. Because I am doing stand alone remote, I am able to take my neighbor’s dog for a walk and time out of his crate during my study, which I definitely wouldn’t be able to do if I was in school. They also have two cats that I also enjoy seeing when I take care of their dog.

My sister Kasey takes our neighbor’s dog, Blue, out for a walk. Being a puppy, Blue tends to always want to bite something whether it’s a chew toy, my hand, or his leash. (Jadyn Jacobs)

Another hard part about doing stand alone remote is I feel like there is a stigma to it. Through words and actions, I have encountered people in the town, the school, and the district who I feel like they see this program and those who are a part of it as a burden. It feels like they blame us for choosing this. We did choose to be in stand alone remote, but we didn’t choose to be living in this pandemic. We did not choose the risks that come with exposing ourselves to a large number of people. I have also found that some people don’t even know what the stand alone remote program is, or don’t fully understand it. It’s strange to me that people didn’t even know that going full remote was an option and that we are technically still part of the school even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. The fact is the small portion of us in stand alone remote are getting a different experience than the majority of our peers. It is hard to bridge not only the gaps created for everyone by the pandemic, but the added aspect of not seeing each other every day and going through different things has led me to not keep in touch with my friends in hybrid. 

Living through this pandemic has been hard to say the least, and I can’t wait till this is all over. Despite my eagerness to return to normal, I hope I can keep all the good things that have come out of this crazy year.