#1STUDENTNWI: Munster High School works through challenges presented by COVID-19

#1STUDENTNWI: Munster High School works through challenges presented by COVID-19

What happened?

Much like many other school districts in the country, the School Town of Munster had to find a way to work with the challenges presented by COVID-19. Thus, Munster High School students were given the option to choose between e-learning or in person learning. This allowed students to ensure they feel comfortable and safe. While a variety of students chose to study in the comfort of their home, many students decided to attend their classes in person.

Moreover, Munster High School made numerous accommodations so that the in person students could continuously stay socially distanced and safe throughout the school day. These changes included: shortened passing periods to eliminate gatherings in the hallways, masks worn throughout the entire school day, plastic shield dividers used whenever a student is seated, one way hallways to eliminate face-to-face interactions, and desks six feet apart.

These adjustments have done an outstanding job of keeping Munster’s students and faculty healthy, as limited COVID-19 cases in the school have been reported. Furthermore, athletes that play fall sports including girls’ and boys’ soccer, football, volleyball, dance, cross country, girls’ golf, boys’ tennis, and cheerleading are participating in their seasons. Although a few games have been cancelled to ensure the health of the athletes, most have proceeded as planned and are still in session, which the Mustangs are ecstatic about!

Student Spotlight:

Jaelyn Williams

Jaelyn Williams is a senior at Munster High School who, similar to most seniors, feels she is at a setback. This is due to the abnormal circumstances of COVID-19, which have caused many students to wait longer than expected to take the SAT and ACT tests. However, these setbacks are not stopping Jaelyn from having a successful senior year! She has utilized extra time that she’s had to attend numerous study sessions to ensure her score for the ACT and SAT will be where she’d like it to be. 

Along with her study sessions she is participating in face-to-face learning to better interact with her teachers and school work. She also has a part time job. Further, Jaelyn founded a new club at Munster High School called the African American Culture Club, which has gained the attention of many students who are interested in learning more about black culture. While Jaelyn is adjusting well to the changes, there are still aspects of her life she misses from prior to the pandemic.

Jaelyn sorrowfully stated, “I really miss spending time with my grandparents. Being in school and going to work. I worry that if I spend a lot of time with my grandparents up close I may infect them with the virus. Sometimes I stop by but I can only visit my one grandmother from the downstairs area in her building.” 

While Jaelyn deeply misses the time she could spend in person with her grandparents, she values their health, and therefore takes precautionary measures whenever she visits them.

Teacher Spotlight:

Mrs. Dettlo

Mrs. Dettlo is a Spanish teacher at Munster High School. She is currently making her greatest attempts to teach and support her students both in person and online. Unfortunately, some students who are online have plummeting grades, and she is making numerous efforts to help those students succeed. These efforts include: decreasing her course load from written work to “repetition drills,” personally connecting with e-Learners to ensure the isolation is not taking a toll on them, and sending out more emails to make herself more accessible.

However, there are two major setbacks, the block schedule and excessive use of technology, which inconveniences her efforts. The block schedule only allows her to meet with students two or three times a week, when students need to be continuously exposed to the material to best benefit in her world language class.

Moreover, Mrs. Dettlo expresses the lack of training teachers received regarding the heavy use of technology used this year; therefore, chunks of class time are taken away for her to aid students and herself with technology usage.

Additionally Mrs. Dettlo has another more trouble on her mind.

“My fear is that I will never really get to know my current students as I have in the past,” she said. “Forming bonds with them is one of the greatest joys of being a teacher.”

Overall, Mrs. Dettlo is trying to help her students succeed as best she can under these abnormal circumstances.  

What’s happening?

During this month, the Mustangs are actively participating in voting for different nominees in school elections such as the president, vice president, and homecoming court. The Mustangs elected Maureen Van Matre as vice president and Shriya Iyer as president to represent the student body for this school year! The nominees for the 2020-2021 homecoming court include: Uyai-Abasi Edet, Megan Flynn, Taylor Graham, Rebecca Jones, Claire Nowak, Emma Phillips, Salma Prince, and Clara Zuniga.

Although the ballots have not been tallied up, Mustangs are excited for this year's homecoming queen to be announced on Friday, October 2 at the home football game against Andrean’s Fighting 59ers. To further celebrate Homecoming Week, students have specified dress up days for each day beginning Monday, September 28 until October 2.

In addition to the elections and spirit week, the Mustangs have survived the second month of school with limited COVID-19 cases, and are becoming acclimated to the social distancing requirements they are faced with daily at school. Additionally, teachers are more educated on ways to accommodate both at home and in-person learners with less hiccups compared to the first month of school.