Zoom protocols look different for every class

Time spent on Zoom is different for every student as quarantine numbers are rising.


Quarantined student sit in bed, staring at this screen, in hopes of eventually being let into their Zoom classes.

By Amanda Sarrol

Since school started back in August, students who are quarantined due to the coronavirus use Zoom in order to stay on top of their school work. 

“I have put it out to all teachers that everybody needs to have Zoom accessible to all students,” principal Marcus Belin said. 

However, for students on Zoom, their schedules from 7:30 a.m. to 2:26 p.m. may look different from one another. Depending on students’ teachers, the time that students stay on Zoom varies. 

“It is required by the state of Illinois that we do offer Zoom capabilities to students who are quarantined because of COVID. How it was presented to us, is that you are supposed to open your Zoom meeting and let students in on Zoom. But then, how you run your class from there is totally up to you,” social studies teacher Renee Fowler said. 

For Fowler, her Zoom instruction can look different from other teacher’s classes. 

“I would say more than likely, they stay on the whole entire time because in most of my classes I give work, I’m lecturing, or we are reviewing something. As long as I’m working with the whole class at the same time, they are required to stay on the whole entire time. If the class moves to like their own paced work or finishing an assignment they can do themselves, I do check in with the people on zoom, ask if they have any questions, ask if they understand the assignment,” Fowler said. 

Kirsten Sanchez, a teacher who teaches semester-long classes, has a different Zoom schedule everyday. The Zoom instruction for her class mostly depends on what the lesson plan for the day is.

“It’s usually different every day. If I instruct and we have independent work, they can choose to stay or do it asynchronously. So, I don’t make them sit there if they have no questions but I stay on. I’m on from 7:30 to 2:30. They know they can jump on and ask me questions any time. So, I do leave the link open,” Sanchez said.

It is important to note that even though students may not have to stay on Zoom for the whole entire class period, requiring Zoom for students in quarantine does have benefits. 

“I think there are things that get said during class that aren’t in the textbook and aren’t in the worksheets. I think that I want every student to have the best opportunity to hear that information. So, I think it’s beneficial for them to be in Zoom so that they can at least hear what’s said during class,” Medical Academy teacherRenae St. Clair said.  

So, regardless of what teachers are doing in the classroom, they are required to have synchronous classes. The only time a teacher may not have Zoom open is if they are absent. 

“I was out of school last semester just for a week after Thanksgiving break, not related to COVID. I didn’t get to run Zoom because teachers are not allowed to teach by Zoom if they are at home for any reason. I would have loved to run Zoom, but instead they have a sub coming for that period of time. If you do have a sub that doesn’t have technology capabilities, then you can’t run zoom at all,” Fowler said.