In the weeks after COVID-19 caused institutions nationwide to close, many schools have begun to practice distance learning, a method that utilizes online assignments and video chatting platforms to continue students’ educations. While distance learning is meant to aid students in this confusing time, students and faculty at CRLS have mixed views on the process.
Considering the unprecedented nature of our current situation, both students and faculty are doing their best to adjust. Sophomore Angelyna Ehreung commented on her initial reaction, “At first I was okay, and thought of online school as a new experience. As the weeks went by, and reality started to hit me, I was like ‘Wow, this is actually happening.’ I just haven’t felt motivated to do the work.”
Technology has been a major part of making distance learning successful. According to students, the primary forms of communications for their classes have been Google Classroom and video call platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet. Discussing the technological aspects of distance learning, junior Sonya Panariti stated, “I got very lucky since we have stable internet at home, so I haven’t had any issues … however, online school isn’t equal for everyone. Students without a good internet connection are likely going to have more difficulty doing work.”
Students are not the only ones who are navigating this new system—teachers are also learning to balance the merge between their home lives and school schedule. Mr. Tal SebellShavit, a physics teacher at CRLS, said, “My routine is centered around when my partner can take our daughter. I don’t really have a lot of flexibility, but I know my schedule won’t fit with every student’s plan. I hope teachers use this as an opportunity to reflect on what’s important about their courses—we often try to cram so much into our semesters. I have always strongly believed that the skills students learn in our classes are the big things they take away.”
Many students are wondering whether having distance learning during such an uncertain time is even right. “I feel like teachers aren’t actually showing that they care, and because our work isn’t being graded, a lot of people aren’t even doing it. There’s already a lot of pressure with what’s happening in the world, and assignments are just adding to it. We should focus on our own health and families,” said Ehreung. Freshman Mubarak Ware has a different perspective. He claimed that he was skeptical of online learning at first, but realized, “I can see how important it is to keep the mind active. If you aren’t practicing the material, you tend to forget everything.” Ware has found it helpful to have a routine. He added, “Connecting with classmates through Zoom or other things makes me more motivated. Honestly, even though times are hard, we’ve grown as a community. We’re all just trying to help each other out, and we should continue to do that, even after this is over.”