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A Billings Student Reflects On Remote Learning During Spring Coronavirus Shut Down

Billings Senior High
Nicky Ouellet
Yellowstone Public Radio
Billings Senior High

As roughly 85 percent of Billings public school students return to the classroom this fall, many families are wondering if, or when, outbreaks of the coronavirus might force courses back online. YPR News asked then sophomore Helena Brown to keep an audio diary during the first few weeks of remote learning this past spring. Her story feels relevant again now.

“Hi, I'm Helena Brown. It is March 30 and it is the 11th day of remote learning. I have been working on my biology and math. This morning I got in a fight with my brother and, uh, I've been spending a lot of time on TikTok. And I learned a new dance today.

Hi, I'm Helena Brown. It is March 31 and day number 14 of remote learning. So today I did my choir audition, which was really nerve wracking. I hate singing in front of people but I love choir, and I thought it would be much easier to audition over a screen. But it was actually really scary and I didn't do my best. But that's okay.

March 2nd and day 16 of remote learning. For homework, I worked on “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.” We're discussing what it means to have an identity and how your identity is created.

Hi, I'm Helen Brown. It is day 18 of remote learning and it is April 6th. Today I tried to play tennis with my friend and that was really fun. But it really made me miss school and tennis season because that's what would be going on right now if we weren't in quarantine. We are learning about evolution in biology, which also really makes me feel school sick, just like when you get homesick. I miss my classmates a lot and I’m finding this whole online learning quite boring, but it's, you know, it is what it is. I definitely hit a wall this weekend and feel really home, or feel really sick of being at home.

Hi, I'm Helena Brown. It is April 7th and day 18 of remote learning. Today is the day before the day before what would be our Easter break. So that's exciting. It sort of makes it less daunting. And I got to do yard work, get outside. I also had my first successful dance class on Zoom because I've been having some troubles with that. And that felt pretty normal. Actually, it didn't seem as weird as I thought it would be. Um, but yeah. I'm excited for Easter break to have no school, even though I wish we could have school. And I wish, I don't know. I'm sick of quarantine.

It is April 15th and I have forgotten what day of remote learning it is. We just came back from what would have been our Easter break, which I spent at home. But I did get to climb up a mountain and ski, which was really fun and exciting. The transition back to doing schoolwork, that was hard but it's getting easier, you know. Like now, we have a schedule set in place where I wake up at 10 A.M., do school work until lunch and then we try and be done with schoolwork at three o'clock and do an activity.

It is April 22nd and day ‘I'm not sure’ of remote learning. So today reality set in and I realized that we might not be going back to school and that's quite possible. But I was able to attend my first school Zoom class, which was Spanish, which I really enjoyed. It was finally able to click. I've been having a lot of trouble learning a foreign language and not being able to have that full immersion for 50 minutes. But it was really nice and it was nice to see my teacher. Yeah. Pretty good day.

Hi, I'm Helen and Brown. It is April 21st and day ‘I don't know’ of remote learning. Today I actually didn't do any schoolwork because I was at a ranch and doing some bull semen testing with my mom, who's an agriculture reporter. It was kind of like, it was hands on biology. It was basically like a lab. I even got to participate in some of the testing of the bulls and, uh, felt their prostate and things like that. So that was really interesting and way more rewarding than any kind of lab I would get to do in school. And I got to look at the sperm under the microscope, so yeah, that was really refreshing and exciting."

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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