Virtual learning does not mean working from home for teachers at Barrington High School

BARRINGTON, Ill., (WLS) -- Time ticked away as a new school year at Barrington High School began with quiet empty hallways, but not empty classrooms.

All remote learning at District 220 means students stay home, but healthy teachers are required to teach from their classrooms.

"I think the environment is critical even in a virtual setting," said Superintendent Brian Harris.

It's critical for teachers that require hands-on materials, like human biology teacher Caroline Milne.

"I can quickly run to my prep room and gather my dissection materials, it's all here for me. It's been nice to be in the classroom," Milne said.

Having access to clay and books has been helpful for ceramics instructor Jason Burke.

Burke teaches five classes via Zoom. He put together at-home clay kits for all 125 of his students.

"We all have the same supplies the same clay, so I show them and they do the same thing at home," Burke said.

And to make sure his students see and hear Burke clearly, he uses professional-grade lighting and a microphone- all done with a touch of humor.

"There is a makeup person in the back for touch up," he said.

The plan is to continue all remote learning through the first grading period which is October 16th. The district will then reassess its plan.

Depending on circumstances, some students may return sooner, which senior Jason Bernero would prefer.

"If I don't understand something I'd rather not email my teacher, I'd rather sit down with them and figure it out," Bernero said.

Teachers agree, in-person learning remains ideal but for now, Burke looks for the silver linings like when all his students say thank you at the end of a Zoom call.
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