The Problems with Limited Hours of Remote Learning


Sydney Slaton, Reporter

The Kansas Department of Education has put a 40 hour restriction on remote learning this school year and it poses some challenges for future outbreaks that many students worry about. Many students wonder how the remote learning policy will hold up in a Coronavirus surge.

“I feel like If there is another big Covid outbreak, 40 hours is not going to cut it,” junior Abi Hubbard said. 

With the school’s frequent updates and changes to the Covid-19 precautions, many students feel they are inadequately protecting the students and staff from the virus. 

“Half the people walk around with their masks down,” sophomore Kate Wilson said.  

Due to these fears that the mitigation measures are not doing enough, students worry that the current learning situation might not last. 

“Yeah, they’ll probably go back to remote learning if things get much worse than it is now,” Wilson said.

Hubbard thinks the school should continue contract tracing now the CDC guidelines have changed once more. 

“Five days is not enough to protect the rest of the school since there’s no way to enforce that they’ll wear their mask and they’re still contagious from day six to ten,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard says if students are allowed back so soon without warning “there is no way for teachers to know if a kid has Covid.” This lack of communication means that if the mask mandate is not enforced by teachers “it’s all a trust thing” which Hubbard fears might not work.

“With the way most high schoolers feel about the mask mandate, they’re not going to wear it if they don’t have to,” Hubbard said.

In Hubbard’s opinion, “if [the school] made the precautions a little stricter and enforced them” then remote learning might not be necessary. However, she still worries about the way the virus could threaten in-person school if left unchecked.

“With the way the new variant is progressing and how quickly it spreads even to people who are vaccinated, because I’ve had it, then we’re going to end up back at home,” Hubbard said. 

If the coronavirus did end up canceling school Hubbard believes “that we’ll be out for two weeks, at least.” That timeframe “gives everybody a chance who has Covid to stay home” so there is as little chance of spreading the virus as possible. With the current restrictions on remote learning, however, the school wouldn’t be able to do that.

“Either you’re gonna use up all of your snow days and all of your online learning days in two weeks and have to extend the school year, or they could suck it up and deal with the fact that they’re going to have to use more online learning days,” Hubbard said. 

Many, like Hubbard and Wilson, speculate that the reason for capping the number of remote learning hours is due to a problem with money.

“Probably a lack of funding to be honest, because there’s not a lot of funding in schools anyway,” Hubbard said. 

Many, like Wilson, think schools could try to work with the policy by raising money to cover the price of remote learning, but Wilson thinks that process would be too slow. 

“Obviously you could start fundraisers and stuff but that won’t do as much as making a petition and going to the school board and doing it,” Wilson said. 

Others think that instead of dealing with budget problems as they arise, the district should focus more on preventing them in the first place.

“I think they just have to have a backup, so if everything goes wrong we have this to lean back on and right now that is not adequately in place,” Hubbard said. 

Currently, though, there is no extra money stored away to fix the problem, and the school is a long way away from that goal.

“Right now we have an eraser, we need a full-on doorstop,” Hubbard said. “We’re dealing with one of those flimsy little rubber pink erasers, and it’s been stabbed and scribbled on.”

With two new Covid-19 variants it seems like remote learning could become an option, or even a necessity, in the near future should things escalate. But with the restriction on online education, that could become a problem. 

“With the way the new variant is going, it doesn’t look like it’s going to cut it,” Hubbard said.