SARASOTA, Florida — Mackenzie Altman was trying to get her Booker High School students excited about the role of government.
“What do you think is the most important thing for the government to do?” the social studies department chair asked recently, throwing out several options.
It was a standard “bell work” activity for her American government class, geared to get students interested in the day’s lesson and spark conversations. She leads this type of discussion every day, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place, nearly everything about it was different.
Everyone was wearing masks, except for a group of students in a Zoom meeting box projected on a large monitor at the front of the class. Most of these “remote learners” seemed to be sitting in their bedrooms, and many had angled their laptops so that just the tops of their foreheads were visible.
The in-person students tried to keep their