Adjusting to the Unexpected

Online school is filled with disguised advantages and disadvantages

Lucia Ruiz, Features Editor

2020, the year of COVID-19, has brought many surprises. No one could have predicted that schools worldwide would shut down because of the deadliest pandemic in over 100 years. Students, teachers and administrators are forced to adjust to a new learning environment. 

There is no doubt that students and teachers have mixed opinions about online school. 

“At first it was kind of weird, but now it’s not really an issue. I don’t prefer it, but it is what it is,” senior Lily Hamson said. 

Associate Principal Dr. Keely Hafer agreed that students and teachers have adapted well. However, it does not make the transition to online school any easier for administrators. 

“The hardest part for me is not being able to see students every day. Dr. Tyner and I loved being able to walk the hallways or pop into classes to see all of the amazing things that students are doing in class and that is not as easy to do anymore,” Hafer said. 

Many teachers are also struggling to see the good in this unideal situation. 

“I’m trying my best to see [online school] as temporary. I just keep telling myself it’s better than nothing and eventually we’ll all get back,” English teacher and Junior Varsity Cheer coach Cari Secrist said. 

On the other hand, students find some unexpected benefits from online learning. 

“I can wake up like four minutes before class starts and I like being able to do whatever I want during lunch,” Hamson said. 

However, students also found drawbacks to distance learning. 

“It’s very hard to learn and I feel like we’re missing out on a ton of senior activities,” Hamson said. 

Students are not in this struggle alone. Online school affects everyone at PVHS, negatively or positively. Something that has been a negative influence is the workload. 

“[I wasn’t expecting] how much more work was going to be involved. There’s so much that you can do in class… but in online school… it takes a lot more time to go through each individual student’s work and then to enter grades, return it, and get it uploaded to Aeries,” Secrist said. 

Workload is an issue for everyone, but when you are a teacher and coach, the issue is doubled. However, Secrist stays positive about it all.

“[The Cheer squad] started practices [on Oct. 5]. I think it was fun for everyone. I know that I enjoyed seeing and hearing the girls in person,” Secrist said. 

Nevertheless, coaching a team during these times is not an easy task. 

“You just can’t make the corrections or see what the corrections are when you’re online. You really have to see the girls in person, so I think that we’ve lost a lot of time with doing practices online,” Secrist said. 

Despite all of the differences and uncertainty that online school has brought upon learning, there are a few things that have stayed the same for administrators and teachers alike. 

“My job has not changed and my role in the school has not changed. My goal is still to always support our students and staff in any way that I can,” Hafer said. 

There are many problems with being physically away from students and teachers, but there are also technological issues. If someone’s connection is down, it is possible that they may miss all of their lessons for that period of time. 

“Even if we test our technology ahead of time, there is still a chance that it might not work or that there will be another problem that we did not plan for,” Hafer said. 

“We are constantly learning and trying to think ahead as much as possible to troubleshoot problems and help make distance learning easier for staff and students.”