Future of Online Learning Unknown as School Year Ends

Jenna Tupitza, Editor-in-Chief

As chaos around the spread of Covid-19 began rising in the United States, officials decided that it would be safest to put the country on a “stay-at-home” order. This meant that students across the country could no longer attend school. School administrations had been busy making plans just  in case this situation were to happen as they watched  quarantine rules in China, where the virus had begun affecting people in December 2019.

McDowell’s solution included sending resources to students  and having them complete work from home on their computers and personal devices or a district chromebook that was provided for them. This push to transfer public schools students to learn with a cyberschool method was a drastic change for many students and has been leaving an impact on them.

Overall this decision is allowing students to take the idea of online schooling, like PA Cyber, for a test drive, and has proven to have  mixed reviews from both the students and the teachers as they learn their way around new software and new expectations of learning.

Emily Adams, a sophomore at McDowell High School, says that she has thought about switching to cyber school multiple times, but now she would no longer follow through with these plans.“I’ve always wanted to do an online school, mainly because I really don’t like getting up so early,” Adams says. “Now that I have experienced it, I never want to go back to online schooling.”

On the other hand, some students are finding the switch to online classes a relief. Sara Edwards, a sophomore at McDowell High School, states that she had never thought about taking school online before. “I like it, honestly. It’s not so bad,”  Edwards says that if given the opportunity she would probably consider taking online classes.

It seems that this test drive of online classes is taking a toll on the older students. College students like Anna Gamage, a freshman at Edinboro University, explain that they do miss taking their classes on campus, but she says, “I understand the severity of the situation and think the proper steps are being taken to avoid more people getting sick.”

College students also have a different look on how this pandemic is affecting their education because their education is not required. 

Jasmine Lewis, a sophomore at Penn State Behrend, says, “I hope we don’t have to keep doing online classes in the fall, but if we do, I won’t be taking a full course load of classes.” She explains that while doing school work online she had a harder time learning because she didn’t feel that the teachers were teaching but rather just posting new assignments. In addition, she explains that with college being online she is working at her part time job more often. This gives her less time to complete her class work which has caused her to fall behind in class and her grades dropped significantly. 

Lewis is not the only person thinking about what school will be like during the fall after this pandemic runs its course. Elissa Nadworny, a reporter for National Public Radio, reported that California State University decided it would be continuing with online classes for the 2020-21 fall semester. This university made the decision in April, four months before these classes would even begin, the CDC recently released guidelines of what school would have to look like if schools opened again, and so  local schools will have to weigh the pros and cons of returning to physical school buildings in the coming months.