Students learn skills during quarantine spring break


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AACC students have been learning new skills during spring break, including baking.

Christian Richey, Editor-in-Chief

AACC students said this week they spent spring break learning new skills and practicing old ones, after the COVID-19 pandemic changed their plans.

First-year internet and mobile device application development student Jonathan Zutt, for example, is teaching himself how to bake … “making breads, pies, stuff like that.”

Second-year transfer studies student Raquel Smith has been figuring out how to juggle her own classes with those of her three children, who also will be learning online for the rest of the semester.

That wasn’t the spring break they had planned.

“Before the coronavirus happened, we planned on going home to visit friends and family,” Smith said. “My husband’s [in the] military. His leadership let us know that we had to be back by Monday because by Monday, they didn’t want anybody traveling.”

AACC extended spring break from one week to three in response to the coronavirus. Classes resume on April 6—online only.

Second-year transfer studies student Asimina Tziamourani said she had been training for a boxing match scheduled during spring break, but it was canceled.

And first-year computer science student Nathan Perry had planned to go to the beaches of North Carolina with a friend. ”Obviously none of that ended up happening,” he said.

Instead, Perry said he spent the break “trying to get ahead of the game and stay on top of everything for this semester.”

Zutt said he has been practicing piano and drums, and has “been trying to keep up with my latest schoolwork and emailing my teachers back and forth, just to see how the online transition is going to work.”

And Tziamourani started training at home. “I was upset,” she said. “I’ve been reading a lot of books. … But now I’m like back to training because I train at the house right now [since] I can’t go to the gym.”

Smith, who has been taking care of children during the break, called the extended time off “challenging.”

“I’m sure it’s challenging for everyone [and] for teachers as well, but what’s challenging for us is that each of my children have disabilities so we have to basically learn how to teach them without the accommodations [and] the specialized learning that they receive when they’re normally in school,” Smith said.

Smith also said she is “a bit anxious because my classes haven’t started yet.   I’m wondering where my work is going to fit into it when the four of us have to do our online learning. … So far, our normal day is we all get up and get breakfast and then we dedicate mornings to their instruction, and then in the afternoon I work ahead a little bit and do some studying.”

Still, students made time during the long break for watching movies, reading and playing games.

“My husband and I binge-watched that ‘Tiger King’ documentary,” Smith said. “I thought it was good.”

Zutt said, “I do a little bit of reading, I watch [some] shows at the end of the night. … Maybe do an activity with my family.”

They all said they stayed healthy and cautioned their peers to be safe and shelter in place.

“Keep social distance but also try to keep your brain and your body active during these during these times,” Perry said.

“I feel lucky to have my family and feel safe in my home,” Smith said. “I worry about people who don’t. So, I just hope that everybody’s looking out for each other in the best way they can.”