One thing remote learning is missing: daily announcements

Christopher Vye, Staff Writer

If the uncertainty of life during COVID-19 has stressed anything, it’s the importance of frequent, rapid and transparent communication. When it comes to education in particular, the experimental nature of remote learning means that it is, more important than ever for students to have easy access to relevant and up-to-date information from their school administrators. Though, along with ETHS’ transition to remote learning, one of the best outlets for communication from staff has been inexplicably lost despite the fact that it can be replicated virtually quite easily: daily announcements. With e-learning set to continue well into the future, the most obvious thing ETHS should do in order to streamline communication is reinstitute daily announcements back into students’ schedules.

The main reason the administration needs to make this change is simply because current means of communication just aren’t working. Since the beginning of the pandemic, ETHS has disclosed most information relevant to remote learning and COVID-19 through emails. With an increased number of teachers now using Google Classroom, the sheer number of emails students are receiving this year is considerably higher than what it was in years prior. This has made it more difficult for students to keep track of what is going on.

“I get a lot of emails from the school… They’re flooding my inbox, and it’s impossible to tell which are important and which aren’t,” says sophomore Macy Hoeveler.

This creates a situation where a significant number of students are missing the most important emails, which then leaves them unaware of things they need to know about. For instance, take sophomore picture day. The event was only mentioned through emails, and, as a result, only 300 of the 900 sophomores showed up to have their pictures taken, as stated in an email from ETHS Student Activities Director Nichole Boyd. If this event had been referenced during the announcements of the days leading up to it, attendance would have certainly been higher.

Emails are also not the only form of communication ETHS has relied on during the pandemic. Beginning in March, the administration launched “E-Town Live,” a YouTube livestream held on select Fridays. While these broadcasts have alleviated some of the shortcomings of email, they do not provide the kind of rapid communication that a daily announcements system would. They’re not very helpful for someone trying to find the date of a specific event or the characteristics of a certain policy, but are very helpful figuring out why a policy is the way it is.

This is not to say that “E-Town Live” shouldn’t be continued into the future—it 100 percent should be—but, it needs to be supplemented with additional forms of communication. If daily announcements are brought back, that is something they would do.

On top of that, reinstating daily announcements would help give students a sense of normalcy. Right now, when “going to school” really just means sitting at home alone in front of a screen, it is easy to feel disconnected from the ETHS community. If daily announcements are brought back, they would remind students that, even as convoluted as this year is, we are still a part of ETHS, and ETHS is still committed to giving us the best high-school experience possible.

If anything, it would just be nice to hear how great of a day it is to be a Wildkit again.