BY: CLAIRE KIM
Hearing the news that my school would not reopen for the fall semester of my senior year was, to say the least, depressing. I knew before the announcement that the chances of returning to school were low as cases have been rising since late June, but I was hopeful, hopeful that my assumption could be reversed and that my school had plans for on-campus learning once again.
Like many students across the nation, the prospect of online learning is not only upsetting but also daunting. What had previously been perceived as a temporary academic plan this past year has become the official “norm” of the student experience. And for many, this is challenging to adapt to.
The dismissal of hands-on learning through online courses is something to be concerned about. Hands-on learning “is especially important in the classroom because it allows students to engage in kinesthetic learning. It allows students to experiment with trial and error, learn from their mistakes, and understand the potential gaps between theory and practice.” (ThinkFun) As an entering AP Chemistry student this fall, the idea of not having labs to conduct experiments is frustrating. Labs provide students like me the opportunity to really delve into the subject matter, an experience unparalleled to the process of reading a bland textbook. Losing a semester’s worth of lab work is not a minor deficit. It’s impactful.
Along with such loss of hands-on learning, the shift to an online platform from a classroom environment comes with digital equity concerns, especially for those from low-income households. Terrible wifi connections, inability to participate in zoom calls, limited access to technological applications, these are but just a few of the several blunders when it comes to pursuing a fully online-based education.
Lastly, one issue that has gained attention as of recent has been the financial consequences of virtual schooling. Along with raises in school tuition cost due to the loss in dorm fees and demand for the proper equipment to conduct online classes, the financial burden of maintaining varsity sports teams has resulted in teams getting cut, unable to participate this coming year. As an athlete myself, hearing this news is devastating. Upset that my season is postponed till next year, I can’t imagine the emotional stress athletes are suffering from after such a dramatic, undeserving decision.
Fall semester… sigh…