By: Amber Lau
We are almost at the two-year mark of when Covid first affected our school. Our school started its lockdown in March of 2020 by closing school for two weeks and making a transition to remote learning. Everyone was excited because at the time, it felt as if we were given an unexpected break! However, school shut down for another two weeks, then a month, and soon led to us finishing off the year still in lockdown. That was definitely not how any of us expected 2020-2021 to go, but as unpredictable and surreal as the experience was, there were a couple of benefits.
The most prominent benefit of Covid for schools and education was that lockdown forced the exploration of online learning. Since we couldn’t go to school in person, schools had to find platforms that allowed students to continue their curriculum at home. Resources like Zoom, Teams, and Schoology allowed students to complete their work from home as well as meet with their classmates and teachers virtually. However, schools have done away with that option and have changed back to fully in person learning as things are slowly turning back to normal.
WPHS officially reopened for the 2021-2022 school year. However, new variants including the Omicron variant hit us hard and affected many. Many believed that schools should offer a virtual learning option due to the dangers of being in a school of over 2000 people during these times, whereas others thought schools should stick to all in-person in order to avoid distractions and complications to students’ learning.
There are various impacts of a remote learning option– both positive and negative. There’s no denying that this change would result in multiple benefits as classrooms and hallways are not always socially distanced. However, our online schooling experience proved to have had detrimental effects on students and their learning. Although some students thrived because of the more relaxed learning environment, many were challenged by too many distractions and not being able to socialize with their peers. Now, with the increased Covid cases and vulnerability, schools are trying to decide whether or not they want to open up this option again.
This decision has stirred up a lot of controversy among students, parents, and staff. Many parents fear that if the school goes back to remote learning, their children will have too many distractions at home and will interfere with their academics. In addition, parents with younger children would need to find care while they are at work during the school day to help with their remote learning. Other parents are concerned about the safety of their children in school and believe that there should be a choice for online learning. Due to the lack of social distancing in both the classrooms and hallways, during an outbreak Covid may continue to spread and cases may continue to rise, worrying the families of many students. The option of remote learning would give these families the choice to keep their child at home if they choose to.
The administration of the WP school district is doing its best to keep our schools open for in-person learning. The hope is to continue furthering students’ education while maintaining safety and taking many precautions throughout our schools. In addition to the district’s measures, there are various ways to keep yourself and your families safe. It is incredibly important to wash and sanitize your hands, get the possible vaccinations and boosters for Covid-19, get tested when needed, wear masks as mandated, and try your best to stay socially distanced from others.