1 December 2020
March 12, 2020. Maryland public school students haven’t learned inside of a school building since March 12, 2020. Due to COVID-19, many kids –not only in Maryland, but across the country– have not been able to physically go back to school. Many people have negative feelings about this. But others have been able to see the positive during these stressful times.
We’ve mainly heard only the complaints about online learning, but many individuals, from students, to parents, to teachers, have been able to find some good in it.
“It’s been really good. It’s easier to stay focused instead of people constantly talking,” said Kahlil Caldwell, a junior at Atholton High School.
Some students, like Kahlil, have recognized that online learning helps keep them more focused as the environment is quieter and less distracting compared to in-school learning.
Many may argue that due to the fact that we haven’t been in school physically since spring, online learning is very isolating. However, schools like Reservoir High School have tried to find ways to fix this issue by having small school events, such as their Fall Festival back in October. During this festival, Reservoir students were given coupons to go to some of the stores near the school. They also had the opportunity to meet some of the teachers and students within their school community.
Online learning has also given kids new skills that, according to Atholton science teacher Ms. Lorena Sehgalare, are “good things to develop.” She believes that virtual learning has required students to “be mature and organized, and take responsibility for their own learning.”
Additionally, virtual learning allows students to concentrate on different areas of schooling as needed.
“I can focus more time on subjects that require greater effort and study. I don’t have to sit through a teacher fielding questions that have already been answered,” stated eighth-grader Veronique Mintz in a New York Times opinion article she wrote.
Not all students need to spend a fifty-minute class period in courses that they understand in thirty minutes. Some students excel more in certain areas of school compared to others. Online learning allows students to prioritize those subjects that need more help with or time in.
For many parents and students, everyone being at home together has allowed for more bonding between families.
“Overall there are parts of it that I actually enjoy. As my kids are older I appreciate the time that we can spend together,” said Celika Caldwell, a parent of two Atholton students participating in virtual learning.
The circumstances of online learning and COVID-19 that we are going through now are unprecedented. Although it will obviously take time for things to go back to normal, many schools are working on ways for kids to go back to learning in classrooms, for those who simply can’t find the good in online learning.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has a hybrid plan that will allow schools to reopen in the spring. This will allow those who have both negative and positive views on online learning to each get a little of what they want.
Of course the parents, students, and teachers who have found some positive in online learning don’t expect it to be like this forever. Many still value the importance of going to physical school.
Kahlil Caldwell voiced how although he appreciates that online school allows him to “focus more and stay on task,” he would also “like to be in school” to “talk to friends.”
Many were able to find the positives in online learning despite these challenging times. Some even believe that online learning has been beneficial.
But at the end of the day, regardless of the environment, students will only be able to meet the potential they set themselves to. As Associate Professor Christine Greenhow told The Hill last June, “good outcomes depend upon good practices.”