Virtual learning struggles continue as pandemic drags on

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photo by Kimberly Valle

By: Hajir Hasan, Eiman Shahzad, Kimberly Valle (Freshmen Sullivan High School)

With the shift from 7 hours of human interaction per day to 7 hours of eye strain, headaches, and isolation, the pandemic has transformed students’ learning behavior.

Students were affected during the pandemic both positively but mostly negatively as they had to adjust to their new environments. Common complaints were lack of understanding from teachers, constant screen time, no memorable moments or connection with friends, and not being able to get help when confused. 

The RogersEdge Reporter staff decided to host interviews regarding students’ academic and personal struggles during this time. 

Hajir Hasan (Freshman, Sullivan High School): Interviewed Lesly Fernandez, year 11, Senn High School

Lesly Fernandez is a junior in Senn High School and the pandemic has affected her in many ways. She got more free time during the quarantine and learned about herself. She also noticed how distant she and her friends were and how difficult it was to communicate. The pandemic also affected her learning since it’s online. 

Hajir Hasan: How’s your experience with online learning so far?

Lesly Fernadez: So far it’s been okay. The first semester was pretty rough but, like compared to sophomore year, the second semester was better because we actually had to go to classes. It was in a sense being like, look you have to be responsible instead of feeling more optional then it did last semester or like the year before.

Hasan: How did the pandemic affect you?

Fernandez: Well, I mean, in some ways it made me have moments of realization so that was a good thing and it made me get to know myself better in a sense. But at the same time, there was one point where there’s was a bunch of distance between me and my friends and everything because everything was so difficult. It’s not difficult to get in contact with each other, but we were just not used to that like we never relay texted each other as much.

Eiman Shahzad (Freshman, Sullivan High School): Interviewed Da’Shanae Underwood, Senior Senn High School

The pandemic has taken a toll on Da’Shanae Underwood’s life along with many others. An 18-year-old who goes to Senn High School, she claims that her social life has been down. Many students wouldn’t say they miss school but Da’Shanae claims the opposite. In fact, she misses her friends and being able to make new exuberant memories.

Being a senior in high school, she also had high hopes of enjoying the summer and the final days of junior year. Unfortunately, those plans were shattered because of the pandemic. Now, she has to stay inside all day in quarantine and is stuck in front of a screen all day, not being able to make proper connections. Da’Shanae may just have been robbed of her final years of being able to enjoy life before having to head to college.  

Eiman Shahzad: How has the pandemic affected you, and have you gotten used to the changes?

Da’Shanae Underwood: I definitely miss school and my friends and all of that. I just miss school in general and going to school instead of being on the computer for 7 straight hours. It’s just too much. I have [gotten used to it] but I’m ready for a change because I’m used to getting up and going. So, staying in one place is definitely not really good right now.

Shahzad: What are some things that you would change to make virtual classes better?

Underwood: I wouldn’t have to stay at this computer the whole day. Even though at my school, personally, we have asynch [asynchronous time] and stuff like that. That’s been good, but some of the teachers really don’t understand. They try to take up our async time in the beginning instead of letting us go, so it is irritating. I just feel that we should do half our classes one day and half the other instead of sitting there until 3 p.m.

Kimberly Valle (Freshman, Sullivan High School): Interviewed Arfat Muhammmad, Junior at Senn High School

Arfat Muhammad, a 16 year old student at Senn High School, has opened up about how he has struggled during online learning. Spending 9 to 10 hours on average on technology per school day, Arfat also mentioned that he realized how school can change in seconds, along with himself and the people around him. 

While bringing up the topic of the COVID-19 vaccine, his responses were short, but he made it clear that he wished for the pandemic to come to an end so that he can go back to school, a place where he feels it is easier to learn at. 

Kimberly Valle:  How do you feel about having to do work online? Do you feel like it causes more stress or has it been benefiting you?

Arfat Muhammad: I think it causes more stress because like you get less help from your teachers because it’s not in person, it’s a totally different experience for students.

Valle: How do you feel about the COVID vaccine? 

Muhammad: Something I feel about the COVID vaccine is that it might have some side effects, which you wouldn’t experience right now, but like you experience it later in life or something. If it can save people’s lives from this COVID-19, then I think we should do it because there’s no other option.

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