A Year Later

Mina Hirmiz

After a year under pandemic house arrest for the most part, schools are officially going back full time. This can be a tough transition that can either improve or diminish student mental health depending if online or face-to-face is preferred.

Online learning was difficult for some students to get used to because of the new technology environment, but coming back to school may help improve emotional, physical and mental needs.

“I think face to face instruction has helped student mental health since everyone is around their friends more now and it is easier to learn in person,” Stevenson sophomore Toni Cherro said. “Online learning can mess up mental health because it is harder to learn from the new materials they give, which can stress students out if they fall behind on their assignments. Everyone needs different ways to improve their mindset, but getting a good night’s sleep and taking breaks in between studying works for me.”

Online learning has its positives.

“It was not an easy transition onto online school, especially last year when we did not have much of an idea about how to do virtual calls, but after a rough start, it got easier,” Stevenson sophomore Emily Sakorafos said. “Online learning has allowed me to spend more time with my family because I visit them in between my classes and breaks.”

Face-to-face instruction also has benefits that online learning does not.

“Going back to school has impacted my life in a good way because I feel as though I get more educational benefits when I can interact and learn in-person with the teachers and my peers,” Stevenson junior Halley Capizzo said. “Doing things online is a difficult experience. Misunderstanding assignments and not always being able to have a connection, along with a true learning experience with the teachers, is hard. Being in school makes it easier to focus whereas online learning causes distractions by things around me.”

Face-to-face instruction is not always a student’s first choice, as there are a lot of students who prefer online as well.

“I think face -to -face learning is easier for students who need the structure of the classroom more than others,” Eisenhower history teacher Salvator Cusmano said. “Some students are more successful when they have the classroom setting and expectations surrounding them. I think preference varies greatly from student to student. Some students are doing great in the virtual environment and are staying on top of work, getting a lot of information from the classes and are really learning. Then, there are other students who need more of the structure of school and its support systems to be successful and to achieve their full potential.”

Healthy students physically and mentally is the goal at school or home.

“I think my mental health has improved from being home and having time to work on myself and school, “Ford sophomore Phoebe Priehs said. “Some ways that I think can help students during online learning is to not stress as much and do not be afraid to ask for help and think more positively.”

Being back in school can help ease students who feel isolated.

“I prefer face-to-face learning more than online learning,” Utica sophomore Angela Matthews said. “I do not have that every day in-person interaction that I used to get when I went to school. With face-to-face learning, I was up and moving around, talking and laughing and just having that human contact that I feel people need. Some advice I would give to someone who is struggling with online learning would be to take advantage of all the time you get to work. Homework gets overwhelming and the best thing to do is to plan when to work accordingly so you have time to take a break.”