Students adjust to changes brought on by distance learning

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Itzel Luna

Students filled out an online survey regarding distance learning in September.

Gabriela Gomez, Antonio Bedon, and Evan Gleason

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classrooms look different this year at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School as teachers teach from their living rooms and students learn from their bedrooms.

The 2020-21 school year began completely online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Students have to virtually attend three class periods a day and those classes alternate daily. This semester, a new 30-minute class was incorporated into students’ schedule called an advisory to provide students with social-emotional support in a smaller and less formal setting. 

Students like senior Nathaniel Vargas appreciate the individualized support that advisory teachers are able to give students. 

“My advisory teacher is very helpful when I’m in need of help and she’s a fun person to talk to,”  Vargas said.

Mondays are instructional support days, which is used more as a tutoring session that allows students to get extra help from their teachers or gives them time to catch up on work. Mondays end ends earlier than the rest of the week, at 12:10 p.m. and students don’t meet with their advisory teacher. Teachers also hold office hours on Monday afternoons. 

During distance learning, the school day starts at 9 a.m., one hour later than normal, and ends earlier, at 2:15 p.m. Students are also given an hour-long lunch break every day, twice as long as when they’re on campus.

“I feel like advisory is a time for me to interact with students I’ve never met before and have time to wind down just a little bit,” senior Ashley Pedraza said.

Other changes this school year include the loss of a Spanish teacher due to low enrollment. This school year, math teacher Lori Seo is also teaching a new Intro to Data Science class. It is a UCLA math class that focuses on the analysis of data as well as how the data can be used. Seo spent the summer training for this course at UCLA and is well prepared to share what she learned with her students.

Although online learning is the safest way for students and teachers to interact with each other without coming into contact, distance learning is still a struggle for a lot of them. 

“I feel overwhelmed with distance education,” junior Derek Calderon said “I was using a Chrome provided by the school but then it started giving me trouble so I started to use my own laptop. On an average of five hours a day is what I spend doing my classwork and homework.”

Students are also struggling with remote learning because they are staring at a screen for a long period of time. 

“Virtual learning is not my favorite just because I get distracted so easily and I end up being on my phone a lot more or just not paying attention,” senior Petra Vass said.