A normal morning at Providence Academy involves hundreds of students getting out of cars and buses and navigating the yellow hallways to get to class by 8:30. Even in the year of COVID, most PA students are still able to have mornings like this. However, for other students, a school morning is simply rolling out of bed and logging on to their first class with SimulClassroom. 

SimulClassroom is an alternative to in-school learning for students who cannot be physically present at school.

Students learning on SimulClassroom can be seen on the TV’s located in every classroom. At home, they are able to observe students and teachers in the classroom (PAW photo courtesy of Ella Flynn)

Students may stay at home due to COVID-19 exposure, COVID-19 diagnoses, and/or other medical concerns. With SimulClassroom, students are able to watch their teachers lecture in their classrooms via Google Meet, and get as normal a school experience as possible.

Spanish teacher Mr. Kevin Donohue was one of four faculty members who helped set up the technology to make SimulClassroom possible. 

“We put all the TVs and cameras up in each classroom in addition to running cables that would allow the TVs to act as monitors,” Donohue explained. “It took about a month to set up all the technology.” Altogether, roughly 60 TVs and 63 cameras were installed throughout the building.

While logistically similar, SimulClassroom is not the same as distance learning from the spring of the 2019-2020 school year. With distance learning, PA students were able to learn at their own pace and attended only two or three live classes a day. With SimulClassroom, students learn and attend each class as they would during a regular school day. 

“With SimulClassroom, students can be more involved and are able to interact with teachers,” one senior on SimulClassroom remarked. “It’s pretty much like being there!”

Though SimulClassroom is great for providing a sense of normalcy in the academic side of school, it can’t replace a complete school environment. 

Sixth grader, Evan Flynn ‘27 reflected on his own SimulClassroom experience, “I miss being around other students and the social aspect at

Evan Flynn ’27 gazes intently at his laptop as he learns at home with SimulClassroom. (PAW photo courtesy of Maureen Flynn) 

school.”

Despite being different from real school, SimulClassroom has nevertheless brought the classroom experience into the homes of several PA families. Although mornings at Providence aren’t quite the same this year, Providence ensures that students can be together in the classroom, even at home.

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