Make Your Choice: Staying Online VS Returning To School
January 15, 2021
With the “Make Your Choice” of staying online or going back to brick and mortar decision passing on January 11th, the debate between the two choices has led many to wonder about the benefits and disadvantages of either choice.
In a time seen like no other, it is important to remember the consequences of disobeying CDC guidelines. All functions of life from education to concerts have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. An efficient way of ensuring the stop of rapid soar in cases among kids and teenagers in Palm Beach County is to have a shutdown of schools all across the district.
In the 6 months, that I’ve been attending school virtually, I have the reassurance that my family, who is considered “high-risk” is safe from the high probability that I infected them with COVID because I attended brick and mortar school.
Attending school in person during a pandemic is not easy whatsoever. Staying socially distant from your friends, keeping your mask on for a large portion of the day, and the fear that you may contract COVID-19, are burdens that no high school student should deal with on a daily basis. Many of these concerns are those heard around the nation. According to discover.pbc.org, there have been over 93,000 cases in Palm Beach County alone, with almost 1500 confirmed cases within the School District of Palm Beach County, according to the COVID-19 dashboard. I believe I can speak for many, that whenever Principal Robinson sends out an email confirming another COVID case, I let out a sigh of disbelief. It is alarming to see that there at least now 20 confirmed cases at Santaluces. Of course, proper protocol for contact tracing is followed, however, it’s now a matter of “when” not “if” there will be another case.
Learning at home has its benefits. Rather than frantically writing down notes and hoping they’re good enough to review, later on, students can review the Google Meet recordings and find the exact moment where they may have missed a key point in the lesson. There is no commute to school needed whatsoever. You no longer have to spend your mornings getting ready or riding the bus, leaving more time to sleep or take care of other responsibilities. In addition, attending virtual school can benefit those who have to take care of a younger sibling or an elderly family member.
For those who deal with difficulties learning online, your struggle is understandable. Online school is not for everyone and can take some time to accommodate. It is important that our administration and teachers have not dealt with anything like this pandemic before. Some teachers and classes are meant to be taught in person, especially various AICE and AP classes. However, with the COVID-19 vaccine slowly becoming more and more available to the public, our lives can have a sense of normalcy in the next year or so. The more you are exposed to places where many people gather on a daily basis, the more likely you are to come in contact with COVID.
The issue of returning to school or staying online is a highly debated topic. My best advice to those who are struggling with virtual school is to reach out to their teachers. I can guarantee they are also stressed during these unprecedented times. Utilize services like Khan Academy and review areas you may have issues with (I know it may seem boring, but trust me it really helps). If worse comes to worst, and you feel it’s absolutely necessary, return to campus. While on campus, please wear your masks, practice social distancing, and avoid those gatherings. It highly crucial to understand both sides of the argument and to contemplate both choices before “making your choice”.
Returning to School
During this time, the importance of maintaining healthy safety procedures cannot be overstated. Therefore, deciding what learning options are the best fit for you can be difficult and complex. For me, in-person learning has worked well. I’m lucky in that no member of my family is considered “high-risk”, and both of my parents currently work in-person.
During the time where all students were learning from home, I struggled a lot with maintaining structure in my day and with my schoolwork. This resulted in me getting behind in many of my classes and feeling overwhelmed by the combination of my assignments and the many things I was doing in preparation for college, such as completing applications, financial aid, and testing. Much of my experience is shared by high-schoolers all over the country, to varying degrees. Nationwide, grades are falling and students are struggling, especially those in upper grades.
The benefits of going to school in person are numerous. To begin, there are fewer distractions for brick and mortar students, and it’s easier to focus on lessons and assignments in a classroom setting. Furthermore, going to school allows for a more structured day, and makes it easier to set times for completing homework and other activities. Moreover, in-person classes can have positive effects on student’s struggling with isolation, and who find themselves potentially at risk of worsening mental health that may be a result of spending copious blocks of time sitting in front of a screen.
Truly, the issue between the merit of brick and mortar versus online education is a difficult, and multi-faceted one. There is no set answer for everyone– it all depends on your situation and what is safest and healthiest for you and your family, but it’s important to maintain a strong understanding of both arguments, considering all aspects with due consideration.