Distance Learning: An Unprecedented Adjustment


Sarah Chen

The COVID-19 pandemic has vastly changed the education system and resulted in new outlooks in learning, as students and teachers access information through digital formats. 

As health experts and government officials issue social distancing guidelines, students worldwide have been introduced to online learning.

Today, distance education programs have become more sophisticated and accessible due to the proliferation of the web and digital technology. Institutions around the world offer online classes for students of varying studies. But, this type of education is primarily offered for those enrolled in universities, seeking to earn specific degrees, or have other important priorities.

In the United States, K-12 students usually attend an education facility where they learn and have physical interactions. We are taught by teachers who specialize in subjects, and form relationships with our peers, which is something difficult to accomplish through an electronic device. It is this category of students and teachers who are deeply affected by COVID- 19 because it’s a forced and unfamiliar lifestyle change. 

After reaching out to our Falcon Community, I have found there to be mixed opinions about online learning from both students and faculty. 

Incoming junior Jessica Yu comments, “I felt like online learning was a little stressful. Teachers gave me an increased amount of work compared to the classroom and I found it hard to teach myself new concepts.” She found there to be an overwhelming amount of freedom and not enough guidelines for each assignment.

However, incoming junior Mira Bakshi appreciated the independence and self-benefits that came along with online learning. “I could do work on my own time and pace. My schedule became more flexible and I did not have to wake up early. The school hours were much more manageable and all around it was a less pressured atmosphere. I had no problems with learning the actual material.”

Incoming senior Aaron Zhang took a more critical stance. “There was a lack of coordination between the staff members and no structure nor equal foundation. Some teachers were lenient while others were far too stressful, and personally, finals were a mess.” He felt that the district could have created a more effective learning environment through more consistent communication and planning.

Mrs. Golrick, from the Chemistry Department, shared both positive and negative perspectives.

“I saw quite a few instances where online learning allowed students to take more ownership of their learning and become more self-directed…They were able to create their own system for keeping track of assignments.” Students were able to discover and implement their own responsibility in their studies and schedules, an incredibly important skill for college and life.

However, both teachers and high school students missed the opportunity to develop in-person connections. Mrs. Golrick shares, “I also just love to talk and hang out with my students, and I really missed being able to do that every day.”

In social distancing, we are not able to see our friends and fellow peers in school – the place where relationships begin. High school is a place where you meet people that will forever impact you. I have teachers which I admire and enjoy being in their class because of their teaching style, personality, patience, and energy.

Time was a big issue for everyone. Students and teachers lacked resources and plans to optimize their learning. Many teachers had to rewrite their lesson plans to better suit the circumstances but students tended to be caught in a difficult situation where teachers assigned either too little or too much work.

Despite all the challenges, students and teachers were given a new perspective to learning and adapted, as much as possible, to the situation. I personally appreciate the fact that I was still able to finish the curriculum for each class because, in many cases, schools do not have resources to give each student. Online learning was an opportunity to grow and be more independent.

Recently, Governor Lamont announced that all Connecticut schools are planning to reopen in the fall. With that being said, the safety protocol requires all students to wear face masks at all times while in transportation or the classrooms with the exception of lunch, which will be eaten in the classrooms or outside. Students are recommended to remain 6 feet apart to follow social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC.

So, whether you enjoyed or disliked online learning, things are scheduled to return back to normal. As Connecticut is slowly reopening, remember to stay safe and be healthy because COVID-19 is still relevant. See you, hopefully, soon!