Students face struggles during remote learning

Morgan Montgomery, Business Manager

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, students were not able to attend school in person. Instead, they have been attending classes virtually since Sept. 8. Attending school virtually has affected many students’ ability to stay focused, motivated, and really learn the material they need to. 

Olathe South senior Spencer Bonebrake has found it difficult to focus with all of the distractions at home.

“Doing the homework is fine, but actually the learning part has been kind of hard because it’s not face to face. I’m not nearly as motivated because, who cares? The teachers can’t really do anything about it if I’m on my phone, or eating, or not paying attention, they can’t take the stuff away,” Bonebrake said.

Olathe South Freshman Erin Callawaert agrees that it’s distracting.

“At home, it distracts me a lot more because I can be on my phone with my freedom and I can go watch tv whenever and at school, I can’t do that. At school, I have a teacher that’s there telling me to not be on my phone so it would just be easier if I went back to school so it’s affecting my grades a lot and I’m not as motivated to actually do my work.” said Callawaert.

Olathe North junior Mason Hyskell misses the one on one interactions during in person learning.

“I have questions about something or a specific topic [and] I might need to ask a teacher, but they’re not always there to help me because sometimes they’re in other breakout rooms, helping other people,” Hyskell said.

Not only is it distracting to be at home, but it’s affecting the motivation of students.

“Motivation has been kinda low, because when it’s online it doesn’t feel like it matters, as much. [And] the long hours are not the best, it feels like it just drags on,” Olathe East sophomore Trent Twaddell said.

Freshman students starting their first year of high school in an online environment are not able to have the memories that are associated with the first year of high school, such as the first school dance, more freedom within classes and having the 50 minute lunch break.

“It’s not a very good impression because I didn’t really want to start my first year of high school online,” Callawaert said. 

Online school has also affected many students’ mental health.

“It’s stressful. I feel like our teachers are assigning 10 times more the work than they did in person because they’re like ‘oh they’re at home, they have more time’, but it’s not that. I still want to have time to hang out with my family and my friends and stuff and not have to stress about homework and stuff.” said Callawaert. 

Some students are taking on extra responsibilities, which is causing more stress.

“There’s some positives, but there’s some negatives. It’s me being around my family 24/7. I also have to take care of my siblings and have extra things I have to do in the house that I wouldn’t usually do if I were in school. I have a lot of extra responsibilities.” said Hyskell.

Virtual school has even affected the social skills of some students.

“I feel like I definitely have been more introverted than I was, I was already an introvert, but definitely I’ve lost a lot of social skills that I had.” said Bonebrake.

Although most struggle, some find ways to cope with the stress and inability to go anywhere or do anything.

“I’ve just kinda [tried] to do what I can, when I can, and if I can’t do something, I’m just accepting the fact that I can’t do anything and then waiting, and waiting.” said Twaddell. 

It has also been difficult for students who are involved in sports or other school programs.

“For architectural design instead of doing hands-on activities like we would be doing, like drawing and building models, we’ve been going through powerpoints and taking tests on different things. And for product design, it hasn’t really changed for product design because most of that stuff we design on the computer and so we’ve been able to do that still.” said Twaddell, who is in a design program at Olathe East.

For Hyskell, there have been changes in his football team and the game he’s played for his whole high school career.

“It kinda affected football in a negative and positive way because a lot of the players, over the time we had off and some time being cancelled, we got to catch up with our families and spend time with them, but also, we missed our very first week of us playing and also had some players, just from Olathe North, and other schools, go and move to different states.” said Hyskell, who’s played varsity football at Olathe North his whole high school career.

In-person school is more efficient and beneficial than virtual school.

“I would be able to talk and see my friends that I haven’t seen for a long time and learning wise, it would help me actually be able to be in an environment to learn better than I am now.” said Bonebrake.