Entering the second wave of the COVID19, many have started to wonder if we will be back to all-virtual by our return in January. If we will still have the option by next semester, there are several things to consider on both sides.
For online school, it is a much safer option considering the virus, as this was the main reason behind it. There is a greater flexibility to students’ days, which comes in handy when there are others to help at home. Depending on the individual’s work load, they could have a shorter school day and have the luxury of sleeping in for a few extra minutes.
There are definitely negative sides to it that many students know of first-hand. Without that bell on the mic to keep a set schedule, there isn’t much motivation for students to complete school work. It’s very easy to stay in bed all day, especially as it gets colder outside and our beds get cozier.
Online school also clearly limits our interactions with our teachers which can be very hurtful to our grades. While there is still access to our teachers via email or synchronous class meetings, virtual discussions aren’t as easily had as in person discussions. It also cuts out social interactions with our friends, probably everyone’s favorite part of in-person school. Texting and face timing our friends just isn’t the same as laughing with them in class.
In-person school can look very appealing in the social aspect. After months of quarantine, many are craving any human interactions outside of their household. Being in that environment with other classmates and teachers keeps students accountable and can keep them motivated and productive in class. This is especially helpful for students who have a less-workable environment back home that conflicts with their school work. And sometimes it’s seeing friends that drive students to attend school in person.
Of course, the stricter schedule of class on campus takes away the flexibility of the day which some students need during this time. With every outing comes another chance at contracting COVID19, which seems to outweigh the pros behind in-person class. Although students may be young and healthy, they are not invincible and can still have very strong reactions to the virus. Even if they don’t, asymptomatic students could unknowingly pass it on to others, contributing to the growing pandemic.
Personally, while I would love to see my teachers and friends at school, I’d rather not risk anything with my family. Most of my close friends are doing online school as well, so I wouldn’t be able to see them at school if I went anyways. Plus, I enjoy not having to get up as early in the mornings. Instead of getting ready to sit in a hard desk all day, I just quickly run through my morning routine and hop on the computer. It might not always give me a very motivational start to my day, but I end up making things happen in the end. And we should also consider the emotional toll this crisis has on everyone. There will always be some bad days but there will always be those good days to pick things up again.
If we are still given the choice between online or remote learning next semester, I highly recommend choosing virtual classes. If we ever want to get over this pandemic, the best way to do so is limit our chances to transmit the virus and continue school online. The fun times can be fully had, without any guilt, after this pandemic is taken care of and gone.