Online learning: How have things changed since last March?


For young students, online learning can be very stressful, and hard to keep up with. Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash.

Almost one year ago on March 14, 2020, A-West, along with dozens of others across the country, switched to a fully online learning environment. Due to the new Covid-19 outbreak, schools across the U.S. went fully remote. Things were different back then. A-West specifically did not have any Zoom class and students learned at their own pace. At first, students liked this new idea of an “extended spring break.” But now, things are very different. With hybrid and online learning, students and teachers have all been affected in different ways. 

When the pandemic started, it caught everyone by surprise. For many students, the newly introduced online learning was easy. The transition may have been rocky, but this lets students not only work from the comfort of their own home, and do schoolwork at their own pace. 

On that note, back in March of 2020, Sophomore Ryleigh Augustin says, “[it was] easy since there wasn’t as much pressure on me for getting the work done and going to Zooms.”

Augustin’s opinion has since changed as she says online learning is, “Definitely hard. there was a lot of pressure to keep my grades up since it was the start of the year and there were zooms for every class every day.”

The introduction of Zoom calls and Google Meets definitely took a toll on many. Being at home makes students less motivated and makes it easier for them to not attend classes at all. It is different from in-person learning because if a student does not want to attend class, they can just close their computer and do something else. Many students have been taking advantage of this idea by not attending class, along with the general lack of motivation that has been causing grades to drop. 

In an email from A-West principal, Geree Santarelli, she provides details on the school’s grades from recent semesters, and how grades aren’t where they should be. 

“our failure rate for this first semester was 11%, which is 4% higher than normal,” Santarelli states.

Augustin states, “It [online school] plummeted them [her grades]. Doing online school with my ADHD and stuff made it really hard for me to focus, as well as sitting on a screen for 8 hours a day. It made me so exhausted that by the end of the day I had no motivation or energy to do my homework.”

On the other hand, another Sophomore at A-West, Leon Del Rio, disagrees. He is among the many students who enjoy online classes. Being at home and working online is easier for some. It can be a lot less stressful, and who doesn’t love being able to be in pajamas while doing schoolwork?

He says, “I like online school. It makes me feel more independent and feels like I’m being treated as an adult.”

The lockdown from last March 2020 caused lots of things to change. We’ve had to adapt and overcome. Photo by Elena Mozhvilo.

Now that A-West is on a hybrid schedule, and will go back to full in-person school starting March 15, things are very different. 

Augustin assures, “Being back in the classroom for 2 days has helped most of my grades improve, and I feel a little bit more motivated when doing homework.” 

Many new ideas and norms have resulted from this crazy past year. New surprises have been thrown at students and it seems like they cannot catch a break. With all of this going on, mental health issues in students have increased.

In this article from The New York Times, journalist Dan Levin talks about the pandemic and the impact it had on young people. 

“It [the shutting down of the education system] has also cut off an estimated 55 million children and teenagers from school staff members whose open doors and compassionate advice helped them build self-esteem, navigate the pressures of adolescence and cope with trauma.” Says Levin. Due to this, students might become stressed and overwhelmed.

Everyone has been affected in different ways from Covid-19: school, work, whatever it may be. Because of this, new ways of coping and maintaining good health are made. 

As for Del Rio, he says, “I have started writing down everything I need to do. I also make reminders in my phone to make sure I’m up to date with everything I need.”

Change is something that most people do not like, but it is something that everyone must adapt to. That is why it is good to do things for yourself, such as working out, going outside, and even listening to music. Since last March many have found great ways of taking care of themselves. As A-West transitions back into in-person learning, it is important to keep these techniques in mind.