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August 19, 2020 20 min

The Queens Memory Project brings you the third episode of season two of the Queens Memory Podcast. This season we have collected documented experiences of Queens residents during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In this episode, we hear from students and a teacher in Queens who are experiencing the many impacts of virtual learning, their thoughts on the future, and how to stay positive in trying times.


Governor Cuomo delivered a press briefing on May 1st, in which he announced that New York schools would remain closed through the end of the academic year. He advised schools to begin work on plans to create safe in-person learning environments, but said it was too soon to speculate on a fall semester reopening.

Anthony Gadaleta, a teacher from The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica, Queens, shares his experience working from home in a small shared space with his wife, an adjustment that has affected millions of Americans. Here’s some advice on making shared space work at home.

Gadaleta also talks about connecting with his students via virtual learning. Teaching physics, computer science, and math this way proved to be a struggle, but Gadaleta did his best, noting that certain adjustments were made to lesson plans based on what could realistically be taught virtually. 

Students and faculty of The Mary Louis Academy have transitioned to virtual learning amid the pandemic, while mourning the loss of assistant principal Joe Lewinger, who died in March of COVID-19. “We lost pretty much the heart of the school. So for us, it hit immediately,” said Gadeleta. “He was already a huge impact on me and my career and my understanding of what it takes to be a good teacher.”

Meanwhile, high schooler Marvin Lezama shares his concerns about the long-term effects of virtual learning, such as students being unable to re-acclimate to a traditional academic and social setting. He considers the effectiveness of the techniques used in this new medium of education and the loss of the Regents Exam

While schools in a number of states are set to reopen this fall for in-person instruction, many will still utilize virtual learning for the safety of staff and students. Though virtual learning has been helpful in this time of crisis, there are some perceived pros and cons amongst those experiencing it.

And 12-year-old Jason Tejada shares his feelings about virtual learning, sharing space and technology with his family, and how he stays positive. 

As of the release of this podcast, New York City schools are set to re-open part-time on September 10th. If your child will be back in the classroom this fall, here are some tips that you can follow to keep them safe, which include taking their temperature before they leave, investing in the right mask, and having them shower when they get home. 

This episode of Queens Memory was produced by Jordan Gass-Poore’, in conjunction with Anna Williams, Briana Stodden, Jo-Ann Wong, and Natalie Milbrodt. 

Mixing and editing was done by Briana Stodden with music by Elias Ravin and from the Blue Dot Sessions. 

Special thanks for funding support from the New York Community Trust. Queens Memory is an ongoing community archiving program by the Queens Public Library and Queens College, CUNY.

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Chat About The Borough We Became: Queens Residents On Life During COVID-19

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