A Senior’s Take on Online School

Senior Mia Avilés discusses her conflicting thoughts on online classes amidst a global pandemic looming over three years of her high school career.

Many students consider the topic of online school a very controversial subject, with some appreciating its benefits and others not wanting to think of the possibility of returning back to Zoom. (Mia Michele Aviles)

Being a member of the Class of 2022, I’m not new to the whole idea of online school. I made the easy transition from in person classes to Zoom with a week’s notice halfway through my sophomore year of high school. I then spent my entire junior year online, while some made the decision to return back with the hybrid learning schedule. I have two high risk members of my immediate family, so my choice to remain at home was not just about the sweatpants, snacks, and getting to wake up five minutes before class.

Back in the early months of 2020, everyone was so sure that just two weeks online would give everyone enough time to quarantine and prevent the virus from spreading rapidly. Virtual learning was a tricky thing to get down, with the school adjusting schedules and class lengths to meet the students’ needs. It provided a much needed break from the stress and pressure of the academic year.

I enjoyed all of my time online, and as much as I missed spending time with my friends, I felt more relaxed and my school work felt more manageable. Now, as the pandemic rages on at spread rates of over one million new cases a day, it’s not a stretch to start thinking back to our online school days.

For the past couple days, I’ve been mentioning to my friends how much I miss being online, only to be met with shocking responses from my classmates. Almost every friend I’ve spoken to about it expressed how much they like being in person.

I like in person school a lot better because I can pay attention more. I feel more connected in person than through a screen,” senior Claudia Gonzalez said.

Of course, I understand why. It is our senior year and we want to make the most of it, especially through all the memories we make throughout the school days together. With the strain of college applications and decisions on my back, it’s easy to miss the nostalgia of quarantine and online classes. 

I liked that we had more time to ourselves because here in school you’re surrounded by a lot of other people, but online the teachers were more relaxed and let us complete assignments on our own time.”

— Senior Alexa Guardo

I’ll be the first to admit, being cooped up in my office for eight hours everyday was not ideal. Normally in school, we switch classes, shuffle around, and have lunch with our friends. There was barely any talking or interactions in online classes, aside from group projects in breakout rooms.

Honestly, I feel as though I had a more relaxing junior year than most thanks to my continued year of online school. Junior year is a notably stressful year prepping for college applications and standardized tests, made more difficult thanks to the lack of volunteer opportunities and less testing dates for the ACT and SAT. It is also the year where students start or increase the number of AP classes in their schedule, and many reported difficulty retaining information taught during their time online.

In May of 2020, students took modified AP tests online with a timer, which introduced a whole new set of problems aside from difficulty. All around the world, high school students faced technological issues with the software used to take the exams. On top of glitches and malfunctions, some students in different time zones had to take their test in the middle of the night due to the fact that all AP students had to the take the test at the same exact time to prevent cheating or unfair advantages. 

Even though there are some negative aspects of online school, I really believe at a time when there is such a widespread battle with new variants, it would be beneficial to protect students and teachers alike. The spread is at its peak, and a couple weeks online would allow for rest, recuperation, and an opportunity to slow the spread affecting Miami-Dade County.