Vocational education at the region’s technical schools will continue despite the schools being closed due to the novel coronavirus.
Both the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Bourne and the Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Harwich are looking at ways that their students can still receive an academic education as well as information pertaining to their shops, even though they will not be in school until at least Tuesday, May 4.
Upper Cape Tech draws students from Bourne, Falmouth and Sandwich. Cape Cod Tech draws students from Mashpee.
Upper Cape Tech Assistant Superintendent Roger Forget said that the instructors are looking at creative ways to achieve this. For example, some students may be given access to an online Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) course.
In one case, an automotive collision teacher arrived on campus to complete some work on a vehicle that was left at the school before the closure. Tim Arruda took pictures of each step of the repair process and will send those photographs to his students. The students will then be expected to write an essay about the repair work that Mr. Arruda completed.
“We’re being creative,” Mr. Forget said.
He said that teachers also have the ability to provide students with instructional and informative videos from YouTube and will be asked to answer questions about the videos.
The school has been using an online platform called Google Classroom even before the schools were closed. The platform allows teachers to assign and assess work and students can use it to submit assignments remotely.
Students will be able to access their academic and vocational work using Google Classroom, Mr. Forget said.
As far as the senior class goes, Mr. Forget said that there are still some unknowns and they are looking for guidance from the state.
“We don’t know what the future holds,” he said. “Currently, we’re holding the seniors to the same standards we hold our 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students to.”
At Cape Tech, Principal William Terranova said that the school uses S/P2—an online training company that provides industry-specific training—in order to give students an in-depth understanding of occupational hazards.
Similar to Upper Cape, Cape Tech uses Google Classroom as well as programs that provide face-to-face learning time such as Google Hangouts, Google Meet, and Zoom.
“Technical teachers are being creative in how they get students learning,” he said. “We are also accessing student professional organizations like SkillsUSA and Future Farmers of America to provide online curriculum.”
Any student who does not have access to the internet is being supplied with their assignments in the mail, Mr. Terranova said.
The online instruction will begin at the school on Monday, March 23.
He said that the work is not meant to replicate an entire day of school, and that students should expect about three hours of work daily.
“This learning opportunity will not replace the expert teaching that they get on a daily basis,” Mr. Terranova said in a message to parents. “However, it will keep your child engaged for the time being so they are not affected by educational digression during this pause in their education.”
All schools in the state have been closed by Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. until at least Tuesday, May 4.