Students continue their struggle with online learning – Hope for a change soon

Students continue their struggle with online learning - Hope for a change soon

Chase Szewc, Contributor to Scratch Paper

High school students learning online at Warren Township High School remain eager to attend school in person, meanwhile in person attendance at other schools across the country finds recent success.
Many students at Warren Township High School have struggled with the transition to online learning. There has been a noticeable decline in the amount of productivity, motivation, and participation with students in these online environments. Due to the fact that students aren’t present in the classroom, they lack the urge to participate in class discussions with one another. This takes away from the already slim social aspect of remote learning for students by nearly eliminating the level of communication. This is just one of the few negative effects of online learning that students and teachers are now beginning to observe. 
The time management by students is also another noticeable issue with classes as the year progresses. WTHS senior Amanda Klewin expressed her struggle with managing the workload of e-learning, “Since I feel like I have more time to do my assignments, I put it off and it piles up”. Students have also seen their productivity level impacted negatively in only a short period of time, which now brings fear to the potential results of this long term system.
WTHS senior and varsity swimmer Jarrett Lobitz answered whether he had any recent observations on if there has been any noticeable changes in his personal production levels: “100%. I don’t find myself doing schoolwork as much as I would compared to a standard learning environment.” High school students have grown up for about the past decade learning material within classrooms, so naturally there is a change in the results of their work when the format in which they learn is altered. 
Emotional deterioration is an underlying issue for teenagers with their restriction from personal interaction. Natural fear of the unknown has instilled anxiety in the minds of many throughout these difficult times. Amanda Klewin has fallen victim to the mental deterioration that comes along with remote learning: “E-learning has affected me emotionally through being mentally exhausted each day listening to 70 minute lectures per class.” For seniors, they now have to face the harsh reality that the long standing tradition of their final homecoming will be an event they will not receive to the fullest extent. These school events that students attend annually have taken away the ability to look forward to moments to take a break from the real world problems.  Decisions currently await for the announcement on prom for 2021, and a spring football season as well. 
The amount of screen time kids have with remote learning is another concern among adults. According to a research study conducted in an article by ABC News, “Teens spend an average of seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones a day.” The amount of screen time is only increasing from kids who are receiving their education through a computer this fall. Not only does this raise concerns for the health of young adults, but those numbers don’t even account for time spent playing video games, watching television, and now even having homework digitally. The damaging effects of the blue light has become an issue discussed more than ever by parents, teachers, and school staff.
Linn Mar High School in Marion, Iowa has been having students attend in person since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Current senior and varsity football player Kaden Carlton has been enjoying the experience of his final year of high school. They are fortunate enough to be one of the few schools in the country allowed to play football this fall amid COVID-19 concerns. “Safety measures have been put in place by the school to keep us safe. Players are required to wear masks on the sidelines and are sanitized immediately after returning from the field.” When asked about the students he attends school with on a daily basis he felt that “most students are definitely comfortable with the precautions that we’re putting in place. I think everyone is just glad to see each other again for one last year.” The school’s recent success has suggested that as long as safety measures are taken seriously to protect students, it is possible to impose hybrid learning. Both Warren Township seniors stated how they hope change comes soon for the transition of remote learning to hybrid learning to improve their educational experience. November 6 is the current date through which the remote learning system is implemented. Amanda Klewin expressed her strong interest in  attending school in person again: “I would much rather attend school in person so I can focus better and learn more. I learn best through someone explaining the material to me on the board in person. It’s hard to learn from a screen each and every day.” Jarrett Lobitz had a similar reasoning for his response in the new online learning environment, “I would rather attend in person because I feel like I would get my homework done at school more often.” It’s become very clear that the ability to isolate school as the main subject to focus on while at home is a major struggle for students. WTHS students along with many others across the country remain hopeful for a decision on the next step taken by their school administration and board to return to school as soon as possible.