Students, Staff, Admin reflect on the First Day of School


The first day of the 2020–2021 school year wasn’t a steady ride, but Spring Valley was prepared for the many bumps along the way.

The fall semester will be fully online, with students expected to use Canvas, Google Meet and Google Drive services to learn. With the surge of more than 320,000 students and staff all trying to log onto Canvas — the Learning Management System the Clark County School District (CCSD) chose — it was no surprise to principal Tam Larnerd that the system would crash.

As Larnerd explained, the problems with Canvas began on Friday, when a Canvas employee didn’t inform CCSD that Canvas would be conducting maintenance.
“[An employee] for Canvas decided to conduct unannounced ‘routine maintenance’ that shut the whole platform down for almost the entire day … on the last workday for CCSD teachers before the start of the school year,” Larnerd said.

In response, Larnerd moved Spring Valley to a “plan B” scenario — where only Google Meet would be used. This “plan B” allowed Spring Valley to be one of the few schools that avoided some of the technical issues that other schools faced. By Monday morning, many of the minor issues plaguing Google Meet were resolved.

Though Grizzlies won’t be meeting in person anytime soon — that hasn’t stopped them from expressing their thoughts and opinions on their experiences on the first day of school. Junior Lisa Guerrero is open-minded when it comes to her opinion on online-classes, believing that the small issues she’s experienced along the way will get better.

“School was overall pretty good,” Guerrero said. “It’s definitely a cool new experience. It is a bit awkward at times, but I believe it will get easier over time. I can see this online school being very successful as long as the teacher[s] continue to help out, and the students are respectful.”

Junior Aiden Rowland said that he had a positive experience, and that while he hasn’t had any issues with Cox yet, he wouldn’t be surprised if Cox were to have issues in the future.

“My opinion about the first day of school was rather good,” Rowland said. “It felt like a normal first day of gathering — the basics and seeing friends again — just all online. I haven’t had any issues so far with Cox, but they like to be inconsistent, so we’ll see.”

Cox Communications did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication of this article.

Kyle Yasso, a 10th grade language arts instructor told us in an email that she hasn’t had any internet connection problems, but she’d prefer to use Zoom over Google Meet. Overall, Yasso says she misses being in the classroom and having face-to-face interaction with her students and colleagues.

“No issues with the internet here,” Yasso said. “I’m also teaching from out of state, though, so that may be why.”

In an email, she said: “I started a petition to go back to Zoom that got some traction, but ultimately I don’t think the district will be changing anything. … I just miss my students and my classroom and my colleagues. I’m worried about students not having social interaction and feeling lonely.”

While most people can relate to Yasso, others, such as Marlo Limbeck, have the opposite opinion.

A mathematics instructor, Limbeck says her first day went amazingly, with approximately 98% participation. With 15 years of experience in teaching, Limbeck believes virtual learning will enhance the student experience, even after COVID-19 passes.

“I would love to tell you about my first day! It was amazing!” Limbeck said. “I do hope that when we return, we will keep a BlendEd (computers/face to face instruction) type model in our classes, which will continue to enhance the students’ experience while learning and take us to the ‘Next Level.'”

Students, staff and administrators feel confident in online teaching, even if it has minor glitches.