With schools closed for remainder of academic year, students try to make most of online learning
May 11, 2020
By Andrew Palma
“This is a difficult decision, and I know that many students, parents and staff would like to be able to return to school. And while New Jersey is making great strides in stopping the spread of COVID-19, science tells us that at this point, we can’t safely reopen our schools, ” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing on May 4, when he announced all schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.
On March 16, Murphy issued an executive order shutting down public and private school facilities for at least two weeks. As the coronavirus continued to spread, the mandate regarding school closures continued.
Senior Isaiah Brito said he is very disappointed that he is missing out on a traditional senior year.
“It’s crazy to believe that’s it. My senior year is really over, and I couldn’t even finish the whole year,” Brito said. “It was just starting to get interesting, and now I’m missing out on my senior banquet, my last season of volleyball and my graduation ceremony.”
Brito said while he would prefer to be in school, he has adjusted to virtual education.
“I don’t mind online school work. If you just do the work, it’s really not that difficult to handle,” Brito said.
“Online learning certainly benefits students more when it comes to preparing kids to take actual college classes.”
He said he finds online schooling easier than traditional schooling.
“If you need help and need a teacher to help explain it to you, then email them. But most of the work is pretty much based on what we were already learning in school. It just comes down to if you want to do the work or not,” Brito said.
Junior GianCarlo Garcia said he prefers taking classes remotely to being in a traditional school setting.
“Online learning certainly benefits students more when it comes to preparing kids to take actual college classes,” Garcia said.
ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW PALMA
He said he has benefitted from the high expectations of the teachers in his four Advanced Placement classes because they have helped him improve his skills and feel prepared for the AP tests, which will run from May 11-22.
“The classes feel more like college classes than they ever had before…. Not only is it rigorous, but that pacing is that of which I’d expect from a typical class I’d take in college,” Garcia said. “I think with more resources, curriculum and structure, online courses can replace traditional learning in the not so distant future.”
Although Garcia generally prefers online learning, he said learning without the lack of face-to-face interaction and structure of a classroom can be challenging.
“Not having personal lecturing by a teacher affected my ability to retain information and focus on doing my homework,” Garcia said. “I think this is due to the various distractions that are constantly taking place all around my house. This makes it very difficult to focus on meetings with my teachers,” Garcia said.
Unlike Garcia, junior Catherine Venegas said she prefers traditional schooling to online learning.
“Traditional schooling is better because you get to learn from a teacher and understand it more, and you get to see your friends every day,” Venegas said. “With the online school, if I’m struggling with a lesson, it’s hard to understand because I don’t have a teacher to explain it to me more thoroughly.”
Venegas said remote learning has been stressful for her because her teachers are assigning too much work.
“Some teachers are drowning us in work, and they make them due [at] the next class, [which is] inconsiderate, especially if it’s new material. It makes me feel like I’m under pressure to teach myself in such a short amount of time. With people dying every day because of the virus, this is the time to focus more on family now than ever,” Venegas said.
Although she tends to feel overwhelmed by the workload, Venegas said it also offers her the opportunity to raise her marking period average and feel successful.
“With the amount of work the teachers consistently give us, the online school has definitely raised my grades, and since we’re in quarantine [which is] forcing us to stay home, [I have] more time to focus on schoolwork,” said Venegas.