How virtual learning can change students schedules

With students having the option to get their education at home or in school, new options for attendance have been implemented.

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With students having the option to get their education at home or in school, new options for attendance have been implemented.

Whether in school or at home, students have had to adapt to a new way of learning this year. With new safety protocols, including social distancing and wearing masks, new attendance regulations have also been implemented.

Starting in March of 2021, students are given several opportunities to be marked present. Attending class in school or on Zoom gives students much more leeway than in past years, where students would only be marked present if they were physically present in the classroom. Because of WIFI difficulties at school and at home, there is a policy that if work is turned in within seven days of the due date, students are counted as present. However, they are still expected to attend Zoom classes as required by their teachers.

Psychology teacher, Courtney Bova states, “I think with our current set up with in-person and digital learning, it is the only fair way to go about grading and checking work.” Thus far in the year there have been numerous problems with online curriculum including loss of internet and connections with Schoology. At home or in school students should not be reprimanded for not completing their work when it was out of their control.

Because of COVID-19, students at Decatur have missed out on nearly all extra-curricular activities available for high-schoolers. For example, they have had to forego all homecoming events, football games, and having a normal sports season. Online learning with Zoom presents one of the few benefits of COVID-19 by allowing students to take a break from school as well as potentially appreciating our location by the beach during enjoyable weather.

Sophomore Gracie Engle spoke on this topic stating, “This year has been stressful getting used to all of the changes that have been happening in school. I think it is fair to have the option to spend a day at the beach on a warm day especially if we stay on top of our work.”

In addition, an occasional break from school would also mean a break from the constant use of technology. Today, schools have almost completely adapted to online learning, causing students to stare at a screen for the majority of their day. In an article from studyinternational.com, Matthew Howell, a middle school principal states, “After our first screen-free day, students mentioned that they were surprised they had enjoyed it, and they expressed an unexpected sense of relief.”

With the warmer months coming up, some may think this rule is a negative thing because it gives more students a chance to skip school. But, this opportunity to have a flexible schedule is similar to how students will be treated in college. Staying responsible for completing work without being required to go to school everyday teaches independence and accountability.

There are many benefits to this new policy including giving students an opportunity to take a break, in moderation, from school and providing understanding for the possible issues that may occur while trying to submit work virtually.