ISSUE 1: Students reflect on their past year as eLearners

We reached out to some RHS students to get their opinions on the eLearning experience.

Charlotte Stone and Desiray Hunter

As we all know, eLearning was not an option this school year. While this may not be a big deal for many of us, some students haven’t been to school in over a year. This can have many positive or negative effects on students in a variety of ways including: their grades, mental health, and involvement in the school community. As the first quarter ends, ex-eLearners share their experiences with virtual school and how it compares to in school learning.

Q: Why did you choose to be online all year?

TC: It was easier for [my parents] because they were working from home due to Covid, so they didn’t want to take me to school and risk getting my niece sick either.
RA: My parents made the decision to keep me at home.
CL: I chose to be online all year so I would still have the opportunities to see my family members and not put them at greater risk.
AD: “I choose to stay online last year because I known going back to school and it was going to be an issue with having to go back home and quarantine all the time, and my mom works in the medical field so if I, for whatever reason, caught COVID, I didn’t want to give it to her and [then] she can’t work.
MH: “I chose eLearning last year because my dad has a underlining medical condition so it’s the safe way to go
AL: “I get sick a lot so my mom didn’t want me to catch COVID.”

Q: How did being online affect your mental health (in a good or bad way)?

TC: I feel like it was a lot more stressful. There were less social interactions, so if I wanted to see my friends, I had to like schedule it outside of school. So, it was worse.
RA: Online took off some stress from normal school, but it also had its negatives with the lack of interaction.
CL: Being online was both good and bad for my mental health. I was able to do more productive things throughout the day and get in more exercise because I had more time which helped with lowering my stress levels. However, I could not see my friends every day which made it hard to talk about things that were on my mind.
AD: “So I think it’s kinda like 50/50 cause I think most teachers felt like “oh, they’re doing online” so it felt like more work, but at the same time it felt easy because you’re at home… but it was still stressful because there was still a lot of work to do, just like kids that had to be in school.”
MH: “ eLearning was tuff because I didn’t get out the house much, but I still played sports, so, like, it wasn’t so much of negative [effect.]
AL: “In a bad way, I felt like I didn’t make friends… now coming back to school, I don’t know [anyone]”

Q: Was it easier or harder than being in school?

TC: There are pluses and cons to both. I feel like online, if the teacher was explaining something and they asked you how to do it, it would be easier to like look for help or watch a video online. You had more time to like kind of schedule your own things during lunch since you just got a free hour but in person it’s easier to speak with teachers and kind of get advice from them on how to do stuff.
RA: Definitely easier than in school since I had more free and control over my schedule.
CL: I think it was harder than being in school because there were many times where I had to teach myself a topic because the material was being given in a way that was beneficial for the in person learners rather than for the e-learners
AD: “ I felt like it had it’s pros and cons…Like with journalism, it was hard to learn how to do certain things in InDesign. With science, it’s a little bit different, because you can’t actually be there in person, so you don’t get to experience that kids in school have.”
MH: “ It was easier for sure I was finishing at like 1 [PM].”
AL: “ It was easier for me.”

Q: Do you think that students should have the option to eLearn this year?

TC: I feel like the virtual school does a good enough job for that. I feel like eLearning would prolong how things are going and it would take up a whole class period and makes things harder for teachers in a sense.
RA: I think unless Covid cases rise significantly again, then there shouldn’t be an option for online.
CL: I think eLearning should only be an option if a student were to get quarantined because being online was very difficult for both teachers and students
AD: “I think they should because I know a lot of kids whose parents are in the medical field and they caught COVID. They don’t want to give it to their parents and… if their parents caught COVID from a patient and they can bring it home to their kids [and then they could] spread it through the school.”
MH: “I think it should be a option, like if you were to get… quarantined [and you could] tune in with your classes. [But] everyone being at school is better for educational purposes.”
AL: “yes”