Online learning fails to meet expectations; students ponder when a return to in-person learning should happen

Students+sit+down+and+discuss+the+Minority+Scholars+Program%27s+purpose+at+a+meeting+on+Nov.+12%2C+2019.

Arya Ramachandran

Students sit down and discuss the Minority Scholars Program’s purpose at a meeting on Nov. 12, 2019.

As Montgomery County Public Schools aims to safely reopen schools in-person around the start of the second semester, staff and students are left with differing opinions about when and how it should be done.

The general consensus amongst most is that online is a step back from in-person learning. “My favorite part of my classes are always the relationships my students build with each other, and with me, over the course of the semester. Try as I might with daily Neighborhood Chats or small group assignments, I just can’t seem to recreate those experiences for my students,” English teacher Kearney Blandamer said.

There are several benefits such as not needing to travel back and forth to school everyday and not needing to print out so much school work on paper and thus allowing for us to conserve resources.”

— James Mu

Junior James Mu agrees with Blandamer. He recognizes online learning as an “inefficient system” that students and teachers have had to make the “difficult transition to in the wake of the pandemic.” Mu does recognize that there are a few benefits though. “There are several benefits such as not needing to travel back and forth to school everyday and not needing to print out so much school work on paper and thus allowing for us to conserve resources,” Mu said.

Freshman Will Jong agrees that online learning fell short of his expectations. “Honestly logging onto my laptop everyday to get to class is pretty boring, at first I thought it was going to be fun cause we’re at home, but after a while that didn’t seem to be the case anymore,” Jong said.

Students who are fans of online learning feel we should go back to in-person learning only when it is safe. Blandamer also thinks students and teachers should not return until we meet the CDC metric guidelines. “I know remote learning is not ideal, but I feel that Covid is a real threat and we need to be cautious,” Blandamer said.

Mu feels based on current data given during mid-November that we should return to in-person learning in February, but recognizes that the decision will ultimately depend on the health advisory given by the county and state. “I think that while a full in-person model would be the best solution to implement, it would likely be safer to follow a hybrid model for the first months in returning back to partial in-person learning,” Mu said.

While students agree that Covid-19 is a threat, others feel returning to in-person learning is vital to student success. “I feel like we should go back to school as soon as possible because it will make us feel like actual students,” Jong said.
He does recognize that this may not happen as soon as he wants. “If these people aren’t willing to put on their masks, I don’t know when they’ll allow us to go back to school,” Jong said.