Virtual Learning: School During a Pandemic

by Flora Xia ’23

Source: Stories From School AZ

Published Oct. 13th, 2020

School, something that is usually associated with loud classrooms, friends, and packed halls, is now a prime spot for mass COVID-19 infections across the country. Montgomery, despite planning to offer students a hybrid option in the fall, opted to operate under a fully virtual model to begin the school year. 

September came quickly, and soon enough, pencils were sharpened, summer assignments were turned in, alarms were set, and computers were opened with cameras turned on. Virtual learning had officially begun!

Despite the chaos in the world, teachers and staff have done their best to maintain a sense of normalcy in the virtual classroom.

Ms. Fattoruso, an English teacher at MHS, suggests that “virtual learning is a 180 from the spring in that I interact with all my students on a regular basis. Instruction is very much like, if not exactly like instruction that happened pre-COVID.” 

Mr. Stemmler, a history teacher, states, “Now that we are about a month into virtual learning this year, I feel like my classes are comfortable with me and they understand my expectations. This situation is not perfect but it’s safe and we will make the most of it.”

Similar sentiments are shared by students. “Personally, I’m a big fan of teaching myself material and being able to stay at home” said Dina Dank (‘23). “However, a core problem of distance learning is how little time we have to talk to teachers and peers.”

As distance learning continues and students and teachers settle into their new routines, it is clear that something about virtual school is still lacking: social interaction. Stuti Panchal (‘21) stated, “I love waking up later, but I miss human interaction. Eating at home is great and so is staying in my room, but I miss my friends.” 

Despite the many perks of online school, the clear consensus of Montgomery students is the hope that classes and clubs will return back to normal next year.

Overall, it is important to remember that students and staff are here together. Everyone shares the same reality and should work as a community to take care of one another.

UPDATE: MHS began a hybrid instructional model on Monday, 10/12. Students and teachers faced numerous tech and connection issues during the first few days. While the pandemic is truly a test to the Montgomery community’s patience, maintaining a positive attitude is the only factor we can each control.

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