DISTANCE LEARNING: Distance learning allows students to attend class away from home

In the age of virtual learning, the opportunity for a student to be anywhere while attending class may seem surreal. Nevertheless, with the abilities of meeting apps such as Google Meet and Zoom, it is very much a possibility.

During distance learning, some SCHS students have attended their online classes while hundreds or even thousands of miles away from school. 

Junior Sydney Silva took a hiatus from staying in her house during the February 2021 break. It involved one Friday where she had to attend school from the cabin she stayed in while visiting the Sierra Nevadas. 

During that day, Silva had AP Language and Composition, and she described the difficulties in adjusting to the new environment she was in, including erratic internet.

“For me the hardest part was when I had to go to breakout rooms and talk with my group mates,” Silva said. “Other than that, most of the time it was work time, so I could do that easily with the spotty WiFi.”

Another factor causing her to lose focus was having to check on her brother and how he was doing with participating in school while away from home. Despite some challenges, Silva also reaped positive experiences in the new environment. 

“I liked that it was a change of scenery,” Silva said. “I usually do distance learning in our window nook in the living room, and you can only stare at the same wall so many times. Over a while, it gets monotonous, so it was a nice variety, even for a bit.”

During fall 2020, senior J.C. Ferguson and his family went to Charleston, South Carolina for a month to spend time with his oldest sister. 

When taking the plane, his family took extra precautions, such as using hand sanitizer, sanitizing surfaces and objects they were going to use and keeping their distance from other parties. 

“After arriving, we were free to go wherever we desired. There wasn’t any quarantine process after getting off the plane,” Ferguson said. “Quarantining in South Carolina was pretty fun but not very different.”

While attending class, Ferguson noted that while there was a lack of supplies at his expense, he also had less distractions. 

“Not being in my own home granted me less distractions I would have at home,” Ferguson said. “Therefore, I paid attention a lot better.”

While Silva and Ferguson used travel as an opportunity to get away and relax, senior Nithila Poongovan traveled to Arizona to take the SAT and Massachusetts to visit Harvard University. 

“We found it difficult to coordinate times during the day to attend class,” Poongovan said. “We needed to find places that had WiFi in the middle of our day and this even led me to taking class from the airport once. It was also hard to bring all my materials with me on the trips as I had to bring many textbooks.”

Unlike Ferguson, who had less distractions, Poongovan had a harder time focusing on class.

“It was definitely harder to focus as it took away time that could have been spent exploring the places that we were at,” Poongovan said.

Nevertheless, Poongovan, Ferguson and Silva noted that their experiences of attending school away from home improved their mental health. They were able to enjoy their new environment and alleviate the stresses of the monotony of distance learning.

“Although I was traveling out of necessity, it felt like a mental break from being stuck at home,” Poongovan said. “I couldn’t be more grateful for it.”