Oberlin principal takes students on virtual field trips

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(Oberlin, OH) – It’s a school field trip in the middle of a pandemic.

“Welcome to school! And I mean, the whole school!”

Students at Eastwood Elementary School in Oberlin went on a virtual tour of the Little Red School House, which was the first public school in Oberlin, built in 1836.

Principal Meisha Baker coming up with the idea shortly after the morning announcements went virtual.

“I know it’s fire safety week, well fire safety month, but that particular week, we celebrated in our building. So I contacted the fire chief, Chief (Robert) Hanmer and I said, ‘Hey, can I come over and do a morning announcement with you?’ Next thing I knew, we were taping a five minute segment.”

Using her cell phone, Baker recorded herself inside the historic school.

Then earlier this month, giving students a virtual tour of the Oberlin Fire Department.

“Fire safety at the house. What are the first, five things you need to do, find your place outside, find a tree, call 911.”

Oberlin City Schools Superintendent Dr. David Hall said with the entire district except for preschoolers learning remotely, captivating students’ attention has been successful; with more than 90 percent of students logging on daily.

But the virtual field trips, he said, a game changer.

“We’re looking at field trips to our construction sites, to visit heavy equipment, local farms, police departments. But I think right now we’re gonna have to start thinking of different ways to be innovative for our students and to keep them engaged.”

Traditional field trips, one of the many casualties created by coronavirus, prompted educators to think outside the box.

“It’s all about having fun, how do you have fun and learn something at the same time? They’re sitting in front of the computer, you have to give the something to engage, something to say, ‘Hey, when this is all over, I can go to that place.'”

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