Distance Learning Perspectives

The Impact Covid-19 on Education

Little+child+booting+up+a+laptop+to+start+a+remote+learning+session

Ivan Radic

Little child booting up a laptop to start a remote learning session

Delaney Murphy, Features Columnist

Controversy erupted this year when Mason and other school districts announced their plans to return to school online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some residents wanting to return students to classrooms and others wanting to keep them home.

Freshman Morgan Carlson is eager to get back into a real classroom as soon as it is safe to do so.

“It’s really hard to get that … in-person connection that I need to really understand the content,” Carlson said of why she dislikes virtual school.

Carlson also believes that learning from her house makes it much harder to pay attention because of how many more distractions her home has to offer versus the focused environment of a classroom.

“You have your phone, you have other people, you’re not in a literal classroom where they’re forcing you to pay attention,” Carlson said.

Contrastingly, Noah Moore, freshman, has been doing well learning online, and has very different opinions from Carlson on the matter. 

“I pay more attention on Zoom because, when you’re in a classroom, there are distractions: different noises in the hall, peers in the classroom talking or goofing off,” Moore said. 

Moore also prefers learning from a distance for his personal safety.

“While I’m on Zoom with the class, I cannot help but think … ‘what if this person is sick?’ So, I don’t have to worry about my own health. I’m not worried about getting sick,” he explained.

On the parents’ side of things, Rebecca Brazaski, mother of three Mason students, has found that online learning is working well for her children.

“I knew there were a couple of things we had to do to be successful,” Brazaski said. As someone who used to work online, she has some prior experience and knows what is needed for her children to do well in school even when they cannot be in an actual classroom.

Brazaski’s decision on whether or not to send her children back to school in person depends on a number of things.

“I … expect a level of safety and security when they go, so if the school is going to be able to provide that, then, sure, maybe we would [send them back],” Brazaski explained. 

Bruce Ware, father of a Mason freshman, does not think that online learning is best for his daughter.

“The structure that school offers as far as a focused learning environment is much more conducive to learning than learning at home,” Ware said.

Despite his misgivings about online learning, he believes that, if it is the safest option available, it is a good option for now.

“It’s better than no school, but I feel like it’s not a lot better than no school,” Ware said.

While some members of the community like distance learning and some dislike it, Amysue Hopkins, third grade teacher at North Aurelius Elementary, has neutral feelings on the subject of online school, believing that, although it is not perfect, it has its benefits.

“It’s the best option for what we’re dealing with right now,” Hopkins said. 

Hopkins has found that conducting school over Zoom has made it easier to work with students that need a bit of extra help.

“There have been some interesting ways to work with students one-on-one or in a small group because of the setup of online learning,” Hopkins said. The students that understand the material can leave the Zoom and work on their own, and the students that need some help are able to stay in the meeting and get it.

Until students can safely come back to the classroom, they, as well as parents and teachers, will have to adjust to this new environment, and find what works best for them and their families.