Updated: Jan 22
Snow days will never be the same for students around the world. COVID-19 has influenced many schools to switch from in-person to virtual learning. This switch was necessary to protect students and allow them to continue their education. Many schools had online platforms ready and available, while others had to scramble and come up with something. For example, my school district was not prepared for such a situation and was not ready for us to come back to school after spring break, when the pandemic was at its worst. We ended extending our spring break for 2 more weeks. The situation afterward was a bit of a mess. The school district caters to many underprivileged students, so technology and food had to be distributed as well during the situation. Other school districts with more funding had a pretty efficient switch. During the whole summer, school districts prepared for the new normal - online learning. The question is how efficient online learning really is. I did not retain any knowledge from last year when we made the switch. I feel that this school year will be better, as all of the teachers are ready, and students have the right mindset. Something I have heard from many students is that they are burning out within their first few weeks of school. Sitting in front of a computer for 7 hours is not easy which is why schools should become more innovative and utilize new technological platforms to make online learning enjoyable and beneficial. I like what my school has chosen to do. We have a class for 45 minutes synchronously, and then we get 45 minutes of asynchronous work. This allows for students to take breaks as needed, as well as work at their own pace. This feels as if there is structure and guidance without being too overbearing. Some schools around my area have also chosen a different approach. They have 7 classes and they have split it by quarter. Students take 4 of their classes during the first quarter and the rest of the second quarter. This so that the learning time can be longer and more efficient. In my opinion, the idea is good but the result will not work. Imagine taking a semester-long class in half the time only to forget the material after a few weeks because you are overwhelmed without other classes. By splitting class into quarters, first quarter material may not be retained as well since the 2nd quarter will not revisit the previous curriculum. I feel that schools should compare notes and platforms across the nation to figure a more efficient system all around. Online learning allows for schools to be ready when unfortunate situations arise resulting in at-home classes. Snow days may be a thing of the past now, but hopefully, the world will go back to normal soon.