Students learn together in pods while at home

Senior Ally Nemkovich speaks on some of the positives of learning in pods.

Students learn together in pods to stay safe while still interacting with others. 

Some of the students at North have started working together in learning pods to assimilate their learning environment to pre-covid times. 

“I went over to Ally’s house to study almost every day of the week at the beginning of the school year. I always went over to her house because Ally had to stay home to help out her younger sister during the day. We would both Zoom in to our classes next to each other at the kitchen table,” said senior Jay Weekly.

Socializing is difficult to do safely when everyone is supposed to be isolated, so students make sure they are not visiting people outside of their pods. 

“We stayed safe by only meeting with each other and our families and making sure no one around us was ever sick if we were going to see each other,” said senior Ally Nemkovich.

The parents of those that participated in learning pods found it to be successful for their children. 

“They studied together about twice a week. It was very effective; they have one another for social reasons and to help one another,” said Ally’s mother Jenny Nemkovich.

Even with different classes going on, students still found it easier to manage classes when side by side with another student.

“It was really helpful and effective for us to do school together. I felt like whenever Jay came over, I was able to focus a lot more and wake up easier for early classes. We could also help each other in between classes or during work times to get our work done,” Ally Nemkovich said.

Although it is recommended to social distance, students find themselves more drained without regular social interaction. 

“The social interaction with even just one person I didn’t live with was really helpful. It brought back a sense of normality to e-learning, and being with a friend made school more enjoyable,” Ally Nemkovich said.

Having someone come over to learn also helped students manage time better and wake up with enough time to get ready and be awake for their classes. 

“It helped Ally get up earlier and be moving about and more alert,” Jenny Nemkovich said.

The different classes were manageable even when someone had to unmute their microphone. Most of the class time, teachers are the ones talking, so students do not have to unmute that often.

“If someone had to present in class, or just talk, it wasn’t that hard to coordinate. Sometimes I’d need to work with a group in my Psychology class or Ally had to tutor someone in SWAT. Honestly, there never really was a time when both of us had to be talking, so it wasn’t that hard. The other person would just make sure to be extra quiet,” Weekly said.

Learning in pods can also help with the added challenge that some students face of taking care of siblings while at home.

“With Jay studying with me, it was a lot easier to take care of my sister. Jay would make her lunch a lot of times when I couldn’t and even let my dogs in and outside. Having that bit of help was really stress-relieving and comforting,” Ally Nemkovich said.

Seniors Weekly and Nemkovich worked together to take care of Nemkovich’s younger sister Peyton while they worked on their classes.

“I had to help take care of Ally’s younger sister as well as their dogs. Mostly we switched off getting Ally’s sister lunch during times we had breaks in the day so it didn’t impact learning too much. A couple times I had to turn off my camera and notify my teacher that I had to take care of a sibling, and it wasn’t a big issue thankfully,” Weekly said. 

Working on classes as well as taking care of a sibling has been manageable for the students who have learned together in pods. 

“Peyton is pretty independent and may have an occasional question about an assignment during the day. Her main need is someone to make lunch for her. The ask of Ally hasn’t been overly burdensome,” Jenny Nemkovich said.