In-Person vs Remote: Two Views on School during a Pandemic

March 24, 2021

Why I Come to School

With the novel Covid-19 virus, school has changed immensely. Students now have the ability to choose from a myriad of options over how they complete their school year. It’s not even just about coming into school or remaining virtual, students are able to select to remain home for part of the week. Furthermore, even when students elect to come into school, the option of staying home and completing the day virtually is always an option. With the commencement of the third marking period, I chose to come to school five days a week because it is imperative to my success as a student. 

A signifigant reason to come into school is the connections that you have the ability to experience. After a long period of mostly staying home, it was exhilarating for me to see my friends and my teachers when I entered the building. Social interactions are extremely significant and have a major impact on our mental health, therefore school provides the best option to stay connected while staying safe. Going through classes with our peers serves as a grounding experience, reminding us that we are not the only ones going through these difficult times. Staring at your computer screen all day allows us to forget that there are other students who are taking the same courses and participating in similar activities. Yet, when we are present with our friends, we have the ability to bond with them on a deeper level through shared experiences. 

Not only is the connection with peers important, but the connection that students have with their teachers is also essential. Having a strong relationship with teachers makes participating so much easier because you have a better understanding of the way they run their class and they have a more stable comprehension of you as a learner. Over the computer, it is extremely difficult to get an accurate impression of the environment that your teacher sets up as well as their personality. By going into school and learning in person, there may be a completely different atmosphere that can change the way you feel about the material, your teacher, and even your own capabilities. 

As a person who greatly values having a plan, coming into school is a crucial way to maintain an organized schedule. Simply leaving the house and immersing oneself in new surroundings allows for a separation between homework and classwork, which enables increased productivity. Furthermore, there are fewer distractions at school, meaning that it is more likely that you will be able to complete assignments faster and at a more advanced level. Not only will this aid in improving your grades, but accomplishing your assignments will help you to feel an increased satisfaction in yourself and your capabilities. In addition, the fact that schools enable students to have a different environment for each subject is truly beneficial for our focus. When you are only at home, there is nothing to break up the periods because you do not move from your computer. In contrast, going into school allows us to be able to move in between classes and enables us to reset before taking on the next class. 

Overall, coming into school is a viable option for students to be able to leave their house, connect with friends, and improve their academic performance. In comparison to the other very few options for activities, school provides a way for students to be able to be active academically and socially in conditions where they are largely protected. Freehold Township High School has taken extensive measures to ensure that all students are safe and therefore our administration has provided us with a way that allows us to have a different activity other than staying at home continuously. 

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Why I Stayed Home

In the current world, discussions regarding the best way to be safe and protect yourself and your family from the COVID-19 virus is a widespread topic. Since March of 2020, this pandemic has affected practically every person in the world in some way or another. Plans were cancelled, events were postponed, and, arguably most importantly, children and teenagers everywhere were forced to transition into a remote setting to continue their education. This situation has been a wake up call for many, myself included. Several individuals have been forced to make dire decisions that, in the past, would have sounded completely unfathomable. Personally, it is very difficult to believe that I am coming up on it being an entire year since I was last in school. However, these unprecedented times have forced me to really take a step back and think about what makes me happy, and find a whole new appreciation for being in school.

This pandemic, although it would have been poorly timed whenever it could have possibly occurred, made the transition from middle school to high school this past year much more complicated for many freshmen. Simply put, it definitely was not the introduction into a new environment that most people expected it to be. Starting the year off, it was mandatory that every student began learning from their homes, and it was originally very difficult for me to get into the swing of things in this new routine. However, over the course of time, I began to feel much more comfortable in this setting, and I started to feel as if I had been learning this way all along. The teachers at FTHS have been going above and beyond to make the online learning experience as comfortable and beneficial for students as they can, and I believe that this motivation inspired many students to continue to learn in an online setting. Although remote learning definitely has its disadvantages, the main one being not being able to communicate with my peers as effectively, I had decided that the benefits outweighed the possible negatives. As a result of these findings, I eventually came to the decision that I would continue to learn in a virtual setting for the foreseeable future. Although every person may have individual reasons for coming to this decision, the main criteria that I used to make this choice seemed to be very widespread.

Extending past the initial worries regarding being able to successfully learn virtually, it is very understandable that many people, myself included, were also very nervous about whether or not they would be able to meet new friends and connect with their classmates, even while not being able to see them in person at the moment. These worries were soon diminished, however, in my personal experience, when I began to form friendships with various different people through text messaging and different clubs. Although it is much different than being able to evolve a relationship face to face, this method turned out to be beneficial and really gave me the boost of confidence I needed to be able to start off the new year. 

All in all, it is very difficult to say what the best option for education is at the moment. Parents everywhere are trying to decide what the best option for their children is, while having to bear in mind health risks, social issues, and educational difficulties. Even though my freshman year of high school did not play out the way that I anticipated, I truly believe that it was even more special, and knowing that I spent it learning during a very important time in history brings me comfort.


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