Courtesy of NBC News
As someone who has chosen to remain entirely in the online-learning format for the remainder of the first semester, the date November 9 brings me great skepticism. While I, along with all Yorba Linda High School attendees, had the opportunity to choose to return to campus in a hybrid learning schedule, my fear of COVID-19 continues to outweigh my lack of social interaction. With talks of a “second-wave” of coronavirus striking in the fall, I felt the risks of choosing the hybrid schedule were, simply, undeniable.
However, many of my peers feel otherwise, as they will be returning to school in just a few weeks on November 9, despite scientists’ fears of a COVID-19 surge in the near future. While I hope for a seamless and safe transition for my peers and teachers as they go back to the YLHS campus, I can not help but feel as though my education will be jeopardized as a result of this return.
For months now, my school days have been through my computer screen, to ensure students’ and teachers’ avoidance of coronavirus. With every student learning over the video communications software, Zoom, I have felt assured in the fact that I am not alone in this situation. Online learning is difficult and not ideal, but my peers are also experiencing these same hardships that come with this foreign way of schooling.
Although, with around 60% of students returning to school, it feels like those of us who will be staying home will be forgotten. Also feeling concerned about staying online, Patrick Song (12) posed the question: “How will teachers tend to the Zoom and those in-person while ensuring both groups are maintaining an equal learning experience?” In my opinion, it is inevitable that those in the classroom will receive precedence, as they can talk to their teachers without an unstable internet connection or a weak microphone.
How will teachers perform lectures to the class while simultaneously checking to see if students are trying to join the Zoom, have raised their virtual hand in hopes of answering or asking a question, or have typed information in the chat? Obviously, those who will be at their desks in the presence of their teachers will not have these worries, giving them leverage in their quality of education compared to those learning remotely.
Despite these fears being entirely valid, I also understand that teachers are working tirelessly to prevent discrepancies in both groups of students’ educations. Online school was an inconvenient change for everyone, especially teachers. Trying to engage and motivate their students all while learning a new system is no simple task. Now having about half of their students on a screen, and the other half in the classroom at the same time will only make their jobs more unpredictable.
I just ask that we students who will be staying home do not get left behind. Online school is already difficult, being a very new concept for many, so now not having our teacher’s undivided attention only worsens these struggles.
The handling of this shift is not just up to the teachers, but also greatly up to us students. For those of us staying home, it is essential that we be our own advocates during these unfortunate circumstances. Whether it be unmuting ourselves to ask our questions because the teacher can not see our raised hand, or emailing teachers for further instructions, we decide our performances in school, so we must work for it.
While I may be deeply fearful of the switch to hybrid schedules my peers and teachers will experience on November 9, I know YLHS teachers will work endlessly to ensure students receive the best educations, no matter how inconvenient this new way of learning may be. We remote-learners must remember that it is not solely up to the teachers to know how confident we are feeling in our schooling. Teachers must do their best to make sure both parties are understanding the curriculum, and those at home must voice their struggles as they arise.