OPINION: In-person learning schedule makes remote learning unbearable

Mackenzie Longfellow, Assistant Social Media and Web Editor

With Monroe Public Schools officially converting to remote learning as of Wednesday, Jan. 5, there are a lot of questions surrounding the situation. The decision was made due to the rise in COVID cases, and with Tuesday only having 75.1 percent in attendance, the district decided to transition to online learning. It is understandable to go remote in order to keep everyone safe and to not have to add on days during summer, but the issue is not with remote learning but with the schedule being kept the same as when we are face-to-face due to state mandates.

When in school, the six-hour 7:23 a.m. to 2:11 p.m. schedule is manageable and works well. During classes, we get time to work and socialize, it is not overwhelming, and the workload doesn’t feel overbearing. Typically, it should be expected that keeping the same schedule during remote learning should not prove difficult, but it is. It is completely different to be sitting behind a screen, having limited interaction with your peers, and still expected to be engaging and completing work like we were in person. In some classes, breakout rooms are provided to spark collaboration over homework, but like last year, unless you have already been acquainted with the other student who is in your room, it’s mostly an awkward silence with the occasional question. 

Even before the pandemic, it was common to see ads and complaints about the rise in technology and damage it can do to “a young person’s mind.” Now, it is every day that a student is staring at a computer screen for more than seven hours a day. Of course, desperate times call for desperate measures, but health, including mental health, will be a big issue if this situation continues longer than scheduled. 

With all of these changes, let’s not forget the work that each teacher puts in to try and not lose learning time right before the end of the semester. In each of my classes, I can recognize that not every teacher is a big fan of this transition. Losing the ability to communicate with students easily will prove to be difficult like it was during the 2020-2021 school year. That is why even though I don’t like having to get up early and then make my way through the freezing weather and busy parking lot of the school, I prefer it to lying in bed and staring at my Chromebook all day.