Am I Group A?
Do I do virtual today?
This all just feels like too much.
Just how are students keeping up with a new schedule, a new set of standards, and new ways of learning after six months away.
Last March was a confusing time for students and for a lot of them, it still is. There was virtual learning last Spring, but many students opted not to participate with their grades already set.
For others, like junior Mallory Sparks, boredom led them to Canvas to continue their courses.
“ I [participated in virtual learning], she said. “I was actually kind of happy when they did start because I was so bored and doing school work didn’t bother me.”
While some students participated in virtual learning, some did not.
“I didn’t do the virtual learning assignments,” said junior Felix Galan. “The reason why is because it wasn’t mandatory and I struggle to do assignments online. I still kept up with learning in other ways though.”
Sophomore Yoslene (Yosie) Santiago didn’t participate in the virtual learning last Spring either, but she did get a feel of what it looked like. It helped prepare her for the upcoming school year.
“I personally did not do the virtual learning but I did help my friends out with the assignments teachers posted since it gave them an opportunity to bring their grade up and allow them to learn while not being at school,” she said. “I have mixed feelings with coming back to doing schooling after a six-month break as everything is different. The way teachers are posting assignments to make it available for students that are virtual, like me. But I am also glad to have school again since it gives me a chance to learn new things and start back my routine as being a Richmond High School student.”
Communication between the teachers and students was crucial during the time they were apart.
“I would message [my teachers] if I had a question,” said Sparks. “Some teachers would get right back to you as to where some would take all day.”
Some teachers even messaged without the student having questions.
“My teachers communicated with me often,” Galan said. “I didn’t even do any assignments after a while and they still messaged with me to keep me updated with work and to just make sure I was doing alright.”
For the freshmen, last year was their first year of high school. They never got to experience the full year and their learning was cut short.
“When we were told that we would not go to school for the next following three weeks because of COVID-19 I was very shocked since we’re just experiencing the beginning of a worldwide pandemic,” said Santiago. “At first I thought it was very nice to be out of school but it did get lonely while staying at home not having anything to do since I had this routine that Monday through Friday I would go to school. Yes, I would say my freshman year was cut short.”
Students like Galan might’ve kept their learning up in alternative ways other than actually doing virtual last year.
“Even though I didn’t do virtual learning I still kept up with learning in some ways,” he said. “I don’t know if it counts but I watched a ton of documentaries and I also read a bunch of stuff on my phone. I looked at the news on the app on my phone and stayed updated on current events that were happening. I definitely did not learn as much compared to what I would’ve learned if I did online, but I learned in my own way during this rough time.”
After having six months off of school and not learning in person, it was scary for some to grasp and to be at ease with this new normal. This year is unlike any other.
“I personally was very nervous and anxious going back to school after such a long break,” said Sparks. “I hadn’t been in a classroom in so long and it’s a junior year so that made it even more nerve-racking. They say that’s your hardest year. But I was excited to come back at the same time because I miss seeing all my friends and teachers.
Santiago shares her perspective on how she’s adjusting to virtual learning currently.
“Since I am doing 100% virtual this year it has been stressful since I am not used to having a large amount of school work,” she said. “I do know that I am not the only one struggling as many of my virtual and hybrid friends have also complained about how stressful this school year is going with all the amount of work. It may also be that this year as sophomores we are relied on to do more school work and since many are doing their first AP classes so it causes stress.”
Now that the school year is back in full swing, it’s been challenging for some students. For others, it’s been okay.
“The transition [has] been hard, I’m not going to lie,” said Sparks. “The workload is heavy, and doing it from home and at school is making it even more difficult to keep up and stay on top of things. I’m just hoping after a month or so in school, I’ll have it down and it’ll be manageable.”
Although this year is unlike any other, students are still making the best of it, just as they did last year.
“Everything changed completely since last March and it’s been really weird,” said Galan. “I know that at the beginning of March I struggled with the sudden change and being out of school. I missed it, which is something I never thought would happen. I struggled with virtual learning and just didn’t do it. That was just for me personally. I have friends that did it and really enjoyed it. I’m glad that we’re back in school and that I can finally learn how I like to learn. I’m happy that the school and the teachers have been so helpful over this time. I’m excited to see how the rest of this year is going to go.”