Isolated, virtual learning frustrates students during school closure

Senior+Daniel+Raymundo+works+on+his+assignments+that+were+posted+on+Schoology+for+the+duration+schools+are+closed+due+to+COVID-19.+Teachers+are+expected+to+assign+more+work%2C+but+without+their+assistance%2C+they+are+putting+more+confusion+and+frustration+upon+students.%0A

Maribella Ambrosio

Senior Daniel Raymundo works on his assignments that were posted on Schoology for the duration schools are closed due to COVID-19. Teachers are expected to assign more work, but without their assistance, they are putting more confusion and frustration upon students.

With the wide-spread panic surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, many school districts have opted for at-home online learning, which has received mixed opinions from students.

“I haven’t been able to do much work and there’s a lot of work that was assigned,” sophomore Max Theusen said. “So I would say classes aren’t going as good as they do when we actually go to school.”

After one week of remote-learning, the reaction among students is mixed, with some enjoying it while others struggle with the work. Teachers are expected to increase communication with students next week with video conferencing classes to check in and make sure students are keeping up with their work. 

With coronavirus cases increasing to 15,219 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, schools aren’t likely to reopen any time soon. 

This afternoon, the top Los Angeles County education official is recommending that schools remain closed until at least May 5. On Thursday evening, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to stay home and to social distance themselves until at least April 19. According to the New York Times, it is the biggest step any governor has taken to prevent the virus. 

“This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time,” Newsom said in a news conference held on March 19. “We will look back at these decisions as pivotal.”

Just two days prior, on March 17, Newsom announced that schools will likely be closed until after summer break, according to the Los Angeles Times, putting frustration and worries on the class of 2020. 

“Don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week. Please don’t anticipate in a few weeks,” Newsom said in a news conference in Sacramento. “I would plan, and assume, that it’s unlikely that many of these schools – few, if any – will open before the summer break.”

On March 13, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) had an emergency meeting to decide whether to keep schools open or to close all campuses and switch to virtual learning. That same day, LAUSD and San Diego Unified School District agreed that all schools be closed for at least two weeks. Packets and virtual assignments on Schoology and Edgenuity have been keeping students occupied in the duration of these two weeks.

“So far, I’m kind of enjoying being able to learn in my pajamas. The lack of socializing doesn’t really bother me. I do think after a few more weeks, I might begin to feel crazy,” junior Susannah Ness said. “A lot of work feels like busywork because the teachers had to prepare on such short notice.”

Students with learning disabilities also have disadvantages and other at-home challenges if they’re not in a proper learning environment. These students are most in need of assistance when it comes to schoolwork and staying on task.

“I have a few friends with ADHD and the amount of online time the assigned work takes makes it really hard for them to focus and get anything done,” Theusen said. “I think that if this goes on longer than the two weeks, we were told then the school will see grades go down. The uncertainty might also cause more panic amongst students and their parents.”

Differences among students and their experiences are very apparent. Where some students appreciate learning in the comfort of their own home, others feel it’s a disadvantage.

“I haven’t been able to finish a packet yet. It’s a lot of work to do and it’s hard to focus at home. Plus, it’s not really enforced as it is at school,” Theusen said, a comment that many students seem to resonate with. “I haven’t been doing any work besides just looking at them.”

Not having a teacher or classmates around also puts students in a difficult position when they have questions or need reassurance. Students feel that a learning environment is crucial when learning something new.

“The biggest struggle right now is that I’m not sure if I’m doing my assignments properly or not,” senior Alyanna Ahorro said. “I’m the type to frequently ask questions for the reassurance that I’m on task. So it’s been a little difficult to figure things out on my way. But I’m managing well.”