Students share thoughts on online learning, return to in-person instruction

Teacher Nicholas Patey teaches calculus in an empty classroom at Golden Valley High School on Thursday, August 27, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

After a year of online learning, Santa Clarita Valley students expressed mixed feelings about the Los Angeles County announcement Monday that some schools can return to in-person instruction. 

Officials with the L.A. County Public Health Department said Tuesday schools with approved COVID safety plans can immediately resume in-class instruction for those with transitional kindergarten through sixth-grade students. 

Students of various ages, including high school, said they were excited about the prospect of returning to school, mainly for social interaction they say is lacking virtually. Others said online learning has allowed them to receive more one-on-one interactions with teachers, while others said they feel safer from contracting COVID-19 at home. 

Here’s what they had to say: 

“I like (online learning), but also, not really. I think seeing actual people and being able to directly do fun stuff with them in class is better. I have gotten better about waking up earlier, though. I also now play guitar.” — Lily Schardein, 11, fifth-grader

“I’d rather go to school. I’d say that a couple of us (students) were jealous that the younger kids were able to return earlier than us. Going back to school, I feel like we could probably get used to it. Of course no physical contact, but the shortest amount of socialization will be really relieving because we’d be so happy to see our friends in person. (Online learning) has been working for me, but for other people, I think it’s been more (difficult). Some are finishing their work really late. Going in person would be more fun and more people would participate because right now they’re not.” — Emma Fahrenholz, 11, sixth-grader 

“There’s been a lot of positives and also negatives (to remote learning), but what stood out to me, in the beginning, is that there’s an independent side to this. We can create our own schedule at home, plan our own day on time. For some, that was difficult to organize but that can be a real benefit, like for me, to be able to have other projects outside of school. I’m a very social person so I like interacting with my friends and teachers, and I can do that at Zoom, but it cuts off that student-to-student and student-to-teacher interactions. There’s also that kind of exchange of energy in being with others.” — Ava Paulsen, 16, 10th-grader

“For me, personally, I like the online system over the hybrid system that the high schools or districts have implemented. One, for my safety and the safety of people I’m exposed to and just because, in my opinion, I don’t think that students of high schools will respect or follow any sort of guidelines that the district implements. In terms of academics, it’s helped me and I hope it’s helped my fellow classmates, develop that self-determination to get work done and I think that’s very beneficial in the real world because you develop the ability to sit down and prioritize your time and avoid distractions.” — Edwin Danahy, 18, 12th-grader

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