Letter to the editor: teachers do provide support, students can reach out for help


December 2, 2020

Dear Editor:

I wanted to address your recent editorial in the ​Thunderbeat,​ “Students in Quarantine Deserve More Support.” I believe that both students and staff can attest to the difficulties that a global pandemic has brought to our country and even our daily life here at school. I appreciate the strain on our students to be forced into self-contained learning, but I argue that it is not without support. I cannot speak for all teachers, as those in your editorial cannot speak for all students, but there are several measures that I personally have taken to help ease the period of independent learning for students in quarantine.

First, I send out regular emails to all my students, regardless if they are learning face-to-face or in quarantine. I specifically tell students, “if you are unable to attend class due to quarantine and you are healthy, you may request to Zoom class if you desire.” Teachers are walking a tight-rope on how much they should contact a student in quarantine. Is that student ill? Is that student taking care of family members who are ill? I would never force a student to zoom into my class, but I sincerely hope that if they are well, they would choose to be a part of our classroom. The past three weeks, I have had so many students quarantined that I now send out a zoom link for the entire week to all my students to access.

In Schoology, I have a daily schedule that provides a class agenda and also what will be assigned. I also add supplemental videos for those topics that I feel students may struggle with, as well as provide different online resources where supplemental videos may be found. Also all my students are expected to sign up for the Remind app where they may text me any questions and I reply to them at my earliest convenience. For formative assessments, I allow students in quarantine to choose whether they want to take the quiz at the same time as the class, at a different time electronically that works into their schedule, or when they return from their quarantine.

For summative assessments, students are asked upon their return to create a calendar for when they will complete any material still missing from quarantine. I allow the student to pick the day he/she would like to take the summative assessment. All I ask of the student is that they do their best to honor the schedule that they themselves created. While my methods may be different from other teachers, I have done my best to make the materials in Schoology both organized and easily accessible, in order to make learning efficient for all my students.

I take issue with the following statement from your editorial: “It is clear to me that Bellevue West High School is not prioritizing students’ mental health or academic success. We are behind and exhausted, not only from the constant fear of school closing, having to quarantine, and the recurring reminder of the state of the country, but now we also have to worry about returning to school two weeks behind our classmates.”

I believe the fact that we are in person five days a week is evidence that Bellevue West High School is doing its best to prioritize student’s mental health. I believe that teachers who are teaching a sixth assignment so a class like West Connection does not have to be canceled, shows Bellevue West is prioritizing student’s mental health and wellness. I think the fact that teachers disinfect their classrooms, consistently remind students to wear their mask appropriately, and many of them make the effort to teach both the students in the classroom and those at home that take the opportunity, show that Bellevue West is prioritizing student’s mental health and wellness. I am sorry you do not feel that you were supported during your quarantine and that others have felt the same way.

Teachers are also feeling behind and exhausted, but ultimately we are here to help if you will reach out. If any of you reading this are still feeling behind in your math class, I’d love to help you. I run the Math Learning Center that is open every day at 7:00 A.M. Perhaps if we open up lines of communication and support each other, we can all work toward becoming stronger together, so no one is feeling left behind.


Angela M. Daughtrey
Math Teacher
Bellevue West High School