Students express feelings of virtual education

Ben Blackie, Editor In Chief

On Nov. 12, students began using a hybrid model, allowing students to be in the school.  On Nov. 24, the school board held an emergency meeting to vote on full virtual education. With a vote of 5-4, school resumed fully remote starting Dec. 1.

In a Dec. 4 press release superintendent Charles Prijatelj said,”The decision to shift to the full remote model was based on our current community level of transmission that has been well beyond the substantial range limits since the week of October 30th as well as the Department of Health and the PA Department of Education’s new requirement for the District to sign an Attestation providing a 100% guarantee of meeting every COVID-19 mitigation requirement. Even with a signed attestation, the district’s level of infection and staffing concerns would have caused multiple buildings to close because of infection levels/mandatory quarantines of faculty, staff, and students.”

To be honest I don’t really know. It’s just a mess and you can never please everyone. Personally I feel I’m still getting a good education, it’s just different. It’s nice having more time for assignments, especially as an honors student. ”

— Ethan Stroup

Many students have experienced a major shift in their school experience.

“I know that times are very challenging, and we are left with doing school online; however it has been nothing but detrimental to some students. I have found myself lacking and doing worse in school than ever before. I have always cared about my grades and my school work, but I have fallen so far behind with this new system. I feel that I haven’t really learned anything this year. It’s very sad, and I hope we can return to the classroom as soon as possible,” senior Lydia Baum said.

I feel that some subjects are definitely harder online, while others remain somewhat normal. Personally, it’s harder for me to learn and sometimes teachers don’t explain enough to learn concepts. I think everyone has their own preferences,” junior Ethan Stroup said. 

For some students, not much has changed for them.

“Previously coming from an online school, it’s not much different for me. I like the fact that we used Google Meets to still feel like a full classroom. Most of the teachers are responsive in emails so that’s good too. Overall, online school hasn’t been a terrible experience. If anything it feels like I have a lot more freedom opposed to the rules set in public school,” sophomore Trey Boore said. 

With school being fully remote for students, a decrease in mental health has occurred.

“Online school has made my mental health decrease. I feel that I am stuck in a cycle that repeats itself every day. There is nothing to look forward to, and it is hard to stay positive. Being isolated from social interaction is really hard for most teenagers, and I feel that it has affected us differently. It feels like no one understands or cares that we are going through this,” Baum said.

Where as, some have felt the opposite.

“For me, online schooling has affected my health for the better. It has taken a lot of stress off my head of having to go to school in person everyday and am able to focus more,” Boore said. 

Four days after school began virtual classes, a new rule was established.

In a school wide email principal Andrew Neely said, “In an effort to increase student engagement we are now making cameras mandatory while in a Zoom Meeting or Google Meet.  Over the past few weeks we have noticed that engagement and in-turn achievement are lagging.  It is our goal to change that trend by adopting this policy regarding cameras.  Seeing one another’s faces in class helps to build community and create connections.  These connections will facilitate stronger class participation and accountability.”

With this new rule, many feel more bad comes from it than good.

“I think the new camera rule creates a privacy issue, especially for kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Bullying’s an issue, so I don’t think poor kids deserved to get picked on on top of everything else that is going on in their lives. I think that the issue should probably be addressed by a federal court. Until that happens though, kids should use the background features if they’re not comfortable showing their backgrounds or reach out to their teachers,” senior Sarah Graham