Editorial: Tolerant policies for interactive learning


Andrew Hager

Sophomores Brinly Eaton, Natalia Duran De La Bega, Jillian Nuckles, and freshman Gianna Bierman eat lunch in the newly organized cafeteria. All desks are separated and face one way to promote social distancing.

Students spent the first three weeks of the school year continuing the at-home learning that began in March, but starting Sept. 8, the district allowed students to choose whether they wanted to return to in-person learning or stay completely virtual. The ones that returned to school have been separated in two groups alphabetically by last name. Everyone is required to follow a block schedule (A and B days), with four classes each day.

In order to learn effectively, students should continue to attend school with lenient restrictions in place, and teachers should prioritize in-class interaction and move away from overusing technology. 

The purpose of bringing students to school was to give them a more interactive education than they were receiving online, but with so many restrictions in place, students are unable to fully experience the essential social component of learning. Tolerant rules will provide students with the face-to-face interaction they crave and allow for a better learning experience. Currently, all desks, including lunch desks in the commons are spaced 6 feet apart to maintain social distancing. Classes that are socialization centric, such as PALS and interactive clubs are frustrated, because they are unable to continue in-person interaction, hindering students and forcing them to work around new procedures. In order to allow students to learn effectively, some set of strict rules that allow for better communication should be enforced for those that come back to school. 

Focusing on discussion and interactive learning will promote dialogue and relationship building between students, creating an environment that cannot be replicated at home, over a screen. With many teachers unable to create unique lessons for those in-person and those learning virtually, many students are stuck in school working on classwork that can be done from home, at a computer. This, along with a concern for safety, are large reasons why many students chose to continue with at-home learning. Coming to school should mean spending less time on a computer, but with a majority of teachers’ lessons being online, students end up spending seven hours at school staring at a screen, with little breaks in between classes. 

Using less technology on the days that students are at school will leave those who need to use it with better internet. No student or teacher wants to stare at their computer for hours every day, but with how school is currently working, that is exactly what is happening. Zoom complications, internet lagging and conversation gaps all create an interrupted learning environment which wastes time. Teachers and students have expressed that class periods and passing periods are too long, and once students finish their online work in class, they are left with extra time in each class. This time could be better spent participating in class discussions and student-teacher interactions. Those that have decided to return to in person learning state that they would feel more comfortable asking questions if their teachers encouraged dialogue in class rather than doing online work. 

Coming to school should mean spending less time on a computer, but with a majority of teachers’ lessons being online, students end up spending seven hours at school staring at a screen, with little breaks in between classes. ”

While teachers and school administration are doing their best to create a learning environment that is safe for everyone, the restrictions in place make in-person learning inevitably pointless. There are little to no differences between what is done at home and what is done in person. Being at school should allow students to socialize within classrooms in order for the best learning style;however, staring at a screen at school creates a minimal difference for students that are in classrooms. While in school, students should be working on things that they wouldn’t be able to do digitally such as labs or group work. Currently, keeping the same agendas for both hybrid and fully online students isn’t allowing those that return to take full advantage of the classroom experience.  

The school should ease up on school procedures that promote isolation,such as dividing students and desk separation, but keep safety precautions such as wiping off surfaces and wearing masks to keep everyone safe while encouraging social interaction.