A Second Virtual Year

Chloe Wolfe

As this school year comes to an end, students debate whether to continue learning virtually or return to in-person classes.

“I definitely think continuing the Virtual Academy is a good idea,” Eisenhower junior Millie Flinders said.  “The Virtual Academy offered a lot of “spare time” to finish homework, so it fit in really well with my schedule this year.  It is just a really beneficial move to stay completely virtual.”

Many students are weighing their options in response to the risk of COVID.

“I would rather stay in the Virtual Academy if COVID keeps impacting our lives in the next school year,” Eisenhower sophomore Dylan Shirey said.  “But if the risk of COVID goes away, then I would not mind being able to enjoy high school with the people around me instead of through a computer.”

The virtual experience may cater to certain types of students.

“If you feel as though you do better in your house as a learning environment, you should definitely stay in Virtual Academy,” Utica junior Bianca Lang said.  “It can be hard sometimes, but education and being comfortable are two important things.  I know that many kids suffer with mental illnesses that make learning in person extremely hard.  It is going to be hard for the first few weeks, but it becomes a really natural process.  It is definitely worth it in certain situations, but some people may prefer in person better.”

Seniors have noticed areas in which the virtual world can improve.

“I would say one thing that could be improved in the Virtual Academy would be engaging with students more and talking to them,” Eisenhower senior Rose Jaynes said.  “I find that the classes I actually enjoy this year are the ones where the teacher talks to us about different things, not only school.”

While teachers miss the normalcy of teaching in person, they are recognizing the great benefits the online world has to offer.

“I have found that multi-tasking capabilities are much greater online,” Ford biology teacher Michael Pytel said.  “Conversations with students can happen at any time through Teams calls and I was even able to tutor some students with their parents present to gain an understanding as to what areas the student was struggling with.  The discipline of the students in the Virtual Academy world is great and I do not have to worry about my students getting their work done on time.  My favorite thing about virtual teaching is the flexibility.  In the future, I hope to be able to teach my students from other locations, including national parks in California where I could show real redwood trees instead of looking at them through a textbook.  The thing I miss most about in person learning is the face-to-face relationships made with students and the overall high school atmosphere.”