Virtual Learning at Tenafly High School


Seren Park, Staff Writer

Since the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, Tenafly High School has gone on an indefinite remote learning program. Students will be attending school virtually until at least May 15, but the exact date to return will be determined by Governor Murphy’s office or the State Department of Education. School will resume whenever possible, even if for only a few weeks. The structure of the program has gradually become more organized with the alternating day schedule, but some policies have remained ambiguous. Mr. Morrison has provided explanations to many of the questions that students have had with virtual learning.

Online Session Etiquette

Students who can’t attend their online sessions, whether it be due to bad connection or other reasons, will not be recorded as absent as long as they connect with their teachers. It is understandable that both students and staff may not be able to participate at certain times of the day, but as long as they do the work and interact with each other, there are no consequences. For the online sessions, there is now a mandate that students must turn their cameras on. Mr. Morrison stated, “If cameras are on, it is easier to connect with the students and remind us during a time of isolation that we’re still all part of a learning community.” 


In remote learning, there is no expectation for teachers to enter as many grades into Genesis as they previously had, so the number of assignments given depends on the teacher. This is partially due to the fact that small quizzes or multiple choice questions aren’t an option anymore. Teachers can assign homework that can be done on the days that their class doesn’t meet, but all work should be due on the days that the class does meet. Students should be handing in assignments, as teachers will still be grading work.

Yearly Grades

According to Mr. Morrison, there hasn’t been a final decision on grading policies, but he anticipates that guidelines will be provided by the state government. If the school does open again for this school year, finals will be up to the teachers of the courses. However, any exams that are given would be different from previous tests, as teachers can’t cover all of the material that had been planned for the year. The original calculation for the final grade—45% first semester, 45% second semester, and 10% final grade—will have to be reevaluated not only because finals may not be administered, but also because the final exam rarely raises students’ grades. While there are schools in Bergen County that have resorted to a pass/fail policy, our school is trying to still give specific markings for the students who want and need to improve their grades. Many students at Tenafly High School care deeply about their academics, and while this new system has added a level of anxiety to their existing worries, students should continue to do their best. The remote learning system should not lower students’ grades from what they would have gotten if they were physically in school and are working hard. As many students know, Genesis was closed from 7:30-3:10 during the first couple weeks of the third marking period for the benefit of students’ mental health and communication among students, parents, and teachers. Although this is still an important concern, for the duration of the remote learning program, Genesis will be open for the entire day.

School Events

The fate of certain school events, such as the “Kiss Me Kate” production, senior prom, and senior commencement, has been ambiguous due to quarantine. Nonetheless, it is too early to determine if they will be cancelled or postponed, as these events are all of great importance to the school community, especially for the graduating seniors. As for spring sports, if students are able to go back to school in May, the NJSIAA league plans to create a shortened season.

Most importantly, everyone should be patient and flexible with each other during this stressful time. Remember that all of the staff are still available for the students. Teachers can answer questions virtually, and guidance counselors can help students with their schedules, college admissions, and individual situations. Mr. Morrison said, “I’ve just been very, very impressed with how the staff has dealt with this on an abrupt notice. After changing to remote teaching, we have had people utilizing Zoom and Google Meets with no prior experience. I also want to give a heartfelt thanks to all the students who have been patient and flexible during this unique situation.”