How Schools Survived Two Years of COVID-19

How Schools Survived Two Years of COVID-19
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Just over two years ago, before COVID-19 began killing 950,000 Americans and upending public education, Lauren DeNicola led her 9th grade biology students at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in suburban New Jersey through a new computer-based learning simulation.

The exercise was called ‘Waterville.’ It was designed to teach children about complex systems. Farmers in a virtual town wanted more land to cultivate. But local fisherman worried about disturbing a nearby pond that hosted an annual bass-fishing tournament. Your job, DeNicola told the teenagers as she slid around her windowless classroom, crowded with kidney-shaped lab desks bolted to the tile floor, is to model scenarios in search of a solution that works for the farmers but doesn’t disrupt the delicate balance of algae, minnows, and smallmouth bass in the pond.

“All of us are going to gather data on all three of these organisms over time,” said the thirty-something teacher, then in her 13th year in the…

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