First week of distance learning is in the books

Skyy Vollan finishes up her classwork on her computer during the first week of distance learning. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

Anza’s first week of state-mandated distance learning is officially in the books.

Krystle Hamlett said, “Last week was the first week of virtual learning for the kids. We all survived. One of the things we learned was that the Chromebooks provided by the school have a hard time keeping up with online video chat and opening multiple pages for school work. So, my daughter Alyssa is now using her Chromebook just for video and a MacBook to do school work at the same time. She looks like she has her own work office in her room.”

From Monday, Aug. 17, through Friday, Aug. 21, all classes were held via direct online learning with teachers. The synchronous/asynchronous schedule began Monday, Aug. 24.

The distance learning model involves interaction, instruction and check-ins by computer. Chromebooks, hot spots, tech support, teacher devices and other technology are provided by the Hemet Unified School District.

Eighth grader William Hamlett listens to an online lesson during the first week of distance learning. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

Gov. Gavin Newsom released guidance Friday, July 17, requiring schools to reopen online for the 2020-2021 school year. All schools – public, private and charter – within Riverside County were not permitted to return to the classroom in a traditional manner. HUSD opened the year in a fully online learning model.

“On a positive note,” Hamlett said, “We get to talk and interact much more with both kids during the day, and they have fresh meals for lunch. The teachers are doing an amazing job at the high school and middle school levels. William is in a high school math class, and even with the different schedules, the teachers are doing wonderfully with organization.”

All schools within the district will continue online learning until the end of the middle and high school grading period, Friday, Nov. 6. Riverside County’s coronavirus status will be reviewed, and it will be determined if the schools can transition to a more traditional schooling model.

“The first week of school went awesome, and it was easy for Skyy to log in and follow along with her teachers,” April Vollan said. “It was good to see her classmates and teachers that she missed so much. It was just like being at school except for when she was at the office or at home on her Chromebook. She even does PE in front of the computer. They do a video workout all together as a class. I thought that was pretty cool, and it’s definitely just like being at school. I’m so glad my daughter is home with me, and I’m enjoying more time with her.”

Senior Alyssa Hamlett uses two computers during the first week of distance learning. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

While most of the feedback was positive, there were some concerns over keeping up, interruptions to family home businesses, student frustration and lack of technical know-how.

Aurianna King said, “Aside from missing their friends, distance learning is going great. I love the way our school put everything together.”

For more information, contact Hamilton High School at or call 951-763-1865.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at