Students react to distance learning plan

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Digital distance learning comes with the ability to attend class from anywhere. (Photo/Noor Sukkar)

With the quarantine in effect, Heritage shifted its curriculum to online distance learning March 30. Live classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., with independent learning and assignments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Utilizing online resources such as Google Meet and Google Classroom, teachers and students benefit from virtual learning from the safety and comfort of their own homes. After surveying 25 freshmen, sophomores, juniors and a junior high student over social media, several responses revealed mixed emotions and reactions to this new system. With change comes adaptation; here are some student reactions about the system in place.

Junior Aaron Batista has a positive outlook. “I’ve honestly adjusted a lot better than I thought I would. I wasn’t sure how learning from home would go, but so far it hasn’t been as bad as I thought,” Batista said. “I do miss going to school to see everyone, but being home all day gives me more freedom to do my work when I want, which has been a nice plus.” 

Sophomore Zoe Granger has a similar view. “I actually don’t mind it because I get to sleep and do school from my bed,” Granger said. “For some classes I can also do assignments ahead of time and be ahead.” 

With the advantages of online learning also comes the disadvantages. Seventh grader Krytal Molina has reservations on the switch to online and thinks that the “negative outweighs the positive.” 

“Online classes were a little hard in the first week. It’s just a big change, and it was hard getting into a routine that was effective,” Molina said. While she likes being comfortable while working, she does not like the increase in her workload. She feels she has more work than ever before.

Sophomore Julian Villegas also has had a negative reaction to the new norm. “While at home and in the comfort of my own bed, as many may agree as a very positive effect of online learning, this can be a major factor to an increase of unproductivity as well as a cause of student’s laziness,” Villegas said. “This can be absolutely detrimental to the wellbeing of the students as well as their grades because it drops their grades and creates a terrible mental state after a long day of doing the absolute minimum.” 

The hardships of this time period may be troubling for students, but there are a few things to do in order to aid the adjustment. Guidance has made many resources available for the well-being of students, including Wellness Wednesday videos through emails.

Mrs. Schiller, a guidance counselor, talked about how the idea came about. “Mrs. Blum, Mrs. Bennett and I were talking about ways that we can help the students adjust to distance learning. Mrs. Blum thought that it would be a great idea for us to make videos to demonstrate the techniques that we were discussing to manage stress and anxiety,” Mrs. Schiller said. “From there, each counselor created a video of one of those techniques. We are getting ready to launch a new portal page called ‘Counselor’s Corner’ that will house all of the videos and other resources for students.” 

Junior Angelin Mathew discussed how “I think it’s amazing that the guidance department is taking time to send us these videos. I think as teenagers, quarantine is definitely an odd experience since we’re not used to staying at home all the time (not going out, not seeing friends, not being able to do extracurriculars, not having competitions etc).” She appreciates the support system as many high schools may not provide it. 

While many students express feelings both positive and negative, sophomore Cole Travers holds a neutral stance on distance learning, most likely because he’s familiar with it. “It’s been fine, honestly. I’ve done online learning for much of middle school with math so I’m used to being independent. I don’t like how much teachers have to focus on anti-cheating measures as it makes it so much more awkward and harder to do tests and other things, but I can understand it,” Travers said. “Teachers have been very friendly and helpful in general. I miss the social aspect of school but at-home has positive and negative changes to that, so in general I’m content.”

Angelin also looked at the adjustment positively. “What I miss the most are my AP Lang and AP Spanish class because they’re both very interactive and discussion based classes but even then, senora ramos and Mrs. Bolanos have come up with ways to provide us with a similar experience,” Mathew said.

Overall, online school is definitely a new adjustment for many, but as the first month of the system comes to an end, adaptations will follow. 

Noor is a sophomore at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. She has always been passionate about her writing, and is looking forward to being a part of the Patriot Post. Noor is a passionate Arab-Muslim American who is proud of her heritage. She loves trying new things and traveling the world and hopes to broaden her horizons as a part of this team.

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