Should hybrid students return to LHS in the coming weeks?

January 9, 2021

Let’s continue remote learning

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Art by Kaylie Donahue

Spending so much time at home can be a difficult thing to do, but is a safe option with the least amount of exposure. It can be tough not being with friends, but it’s for the sake of friends to keep them safe as well.

For the last eleven months, the entire world has been subject to change at an alarming scale. I’d argue that one change causes a domino effect for others to follow that can’t be ignored, but instead be adapted to. Make a change that is safe for everyone if it is what’s necessary.

That being said, I don’t think we should be reopening the school building to students.

There are so many differing opinions of what people want versus what they don’t want. But it is important to go with the safest option to better the community: to continue remote learning outside of school until infection rates are at a decline once again.

If rates are currently rising, who is to say we won’t be thrown right back home within mere weeks of returning? With some students not practicing social distancing and other safety precautions, there is an extremely high chance risk of spread that may even go undetected. Additionally, people still settling from holiday vacation, some even traveling, isn’t a comforting thought. 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last year, it’s that no matter how cautious we are, the risk doesn’t disappear. Visible symptoms or not, the world is a dangerous place right now.

School allows friends to see each other on a regular basis and catch up as they would previously when fully in school. I am thankful that I’ve been able to see my few close friends regularly. This hasn’t the case for everyone, but there are easy ways to meet others at a higher level of safety than the school can provide at a time that can be chosen rather than forced.

It’s impossible to contain everyone and be completely certain they’re following the rules they should. The best way to ensure everyone’s safety is to keep students and faculty in an environment they can choose to be in. This allows individuals to have full control over where they go and what they do.

Being in school exposes everyone to an even higher risk.

Those who chose to be in school one day and remote the next don’t have a choice, despite their newly developed concerns. They have to go back. We have to go back. It almost feels like a punishment. And if we do take the option to learn remotely, we lose classes we don’t have the easy luxury of leaving behind.

Personally, I can adjust to change. But it isn’t immediate and is an uncomfortable transition. Being thrown in and out of school like a custody battle, just to be put back into remote learning for a couple of months (enough time to get comfortable with that routine, I might add) only to be sent back to school is draining. Readjusting to an on day-off day schedule is difficult on its own, but it was impossible to adjust to in the first place.

Right now we can be comfortable in our environment. At home we are safe.

When learning from home, students have had the ability to create a schedule and routine that works for them. At least for me, it gave me the opportunity to manage my time in class learning and to do activities that I enjoy. This mediation has allowed me to keep my mental health reigned in.

When we are in school, it never seems to end.

I can understand that remote learning doesn’t work for every student and every teacher, but there is never going to be a solution everyone can agree on which is why I believe going the safer route is the more feasible option.

Now, some people will call it senioritis, but it’s not news that students are in the school building for at least six hours a day without the opportunity to complete any homework in that time. The current remote schedule gives students the choice of working outside of school hours. 

The long periods are structured to give time for instruction and time for knowledge application so that when the students logs off their class for that day, chances are, if they managed their time well and were given enough time to finish their work, don’t have to think about school until class the next morning.

For seniors getting ready to go to college, remote learning has also given them, including myself, a taste of what learning in college is going to be like. It requires students to be more independent to understand material while outside of the classroom. This was true well before any virus. If used to its potential, I’d argue some of the skills in time management, self-advocation, and independent studies are skills that will directly help students when transitioning into college no matter their current grade.

I guess it’s no secret I’ve become fond of remote learning.

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Let’s get back to school

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Art by Kaylie Donahue

As scary as it is to go back to school, remote learning just isn’t what we need.

The  28 day reign of remote learning is finally coming to a close. Despite popular opinion, I personally can’t wait to get back into the everyday drone of school life in the hallways of Londonderry High. 

Lazing around at home has been fun, but it’s become unbelievably mundane. Every day has become a blur between closing and opening new tabs on my laptop. 

Don’t get me wrong, I see the appeal of getting up a minute before class begins and wearing a sweatshirt with fuzzy pants. But is this really how I want to continue (and eventually end) my high school career?

Being in high school is supposed to be the “exciting years of your life,” but you can’t really live it through a screen. 

So yes, I do want to go back to school.

Humans are social creatures by habit. I myself am one of these creatures that want to be able to see other people who aren’t my blood relatives for once. 

The schools have proven to be clean and relatively safe for students to enter and continue their learning.There is a strict mask mandate that requires students to wear a face covering during the day in the school. There is also a six-foot distanced seating arrangements inside the classrooms. So let us back in. 

With remote block scheduling, students are forced to focus on their classes  for way longer than what should be socially acceptable. Teachers do not only keep students online during the long class time, but they give us homework on top of all that. If I have to listen to my chemistry teacher go on about the structure of an atom for 97 minutes again, I might cry. 

Poll taken on the Lancer Spirit Instagram shows that students of LHS are not in favor of going back to school. Design by Kaylie Donahue.

Most of the time, the work looks as if it were written in hieroglyphics since it’s nearly impossible to pay attention long enough to understand the material. It’s hard to continually learn a lesson with no break times. Too much information is thrown into my face to properly digest the material long enough.  Between trying to interpret whatever I didn’t understand in the class and my buffering teacher on screen, a student can go crazy. 

Teachers spent months carefully planning and crafting the best ways to continue teaching during remote learning. But in spite of  all this planning, school in person gives the structure that is unbeatable anywhere else. All students need structure in their life, but remote learning makes it feel like I’m on a prison schedule more than a school one. 

The thing with planning is that it only works when everything goes perfectly. But anybody can vouch that, with the technology involved, it’s usually anything but perfect. So what happens if you don’t log onto Google Meets at the right time? Have an accident with the computer? Maybe a glitch? 

Too bad. You should have figured all this out the first week of remote learning. 

Being late to class or not getting back on the Google Meet seems to be one of the biggest problems I have. I never knew when the classes started, and when I finally memorized them, the schedule was changed again. Talk about whiplash.  

The pure anxiety one gets from getting called on by the teacher used to be the worst experience in the classroom. Now add the fact that the class is dead quiet and the teacher is the only one talking. Everybody is on edge to see who the poor sucker that has to awkwardly go off mute is. 

If going off-mute is painful, breakout rooms can easily be the nail in the coffin of my dying academic career. Every time  I go into the breakout room, it’s either with people from the red/blue hybrid class or a person I have never even made eye contact with—let alone have a conversation with them. There is no inbetween. I only have one thing to say to the Google programmer who invented the break out room option: there’s a special place waiting just for you after this life.

With all of the awkwardness that comes with remote learning, the adrenaline rush of ending a meeting can not be beaten. Instant relief. 

The feeling of signing off shouldn’t be the best part of my day, yet it is. The only real excitement I feel during class now is when teachers say we have independent work since an hour of lecturing ends up just a white noise after a while. 

The entire eight-hour day consists of staring at a screen with little-to-no time inbetween to do anything else.  So my final take-away is that hybrid learning may have had its issues, but its better than crouching over a screen all day. 

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