OPINION: Virtual Learning Update

Freshman+Greta+Barrett%27s+slightly+cluttered+desk+serves+as+her+workspace+during+virtual+learning.+

Adelaide Barrett

Freshman Greta Barrett’s slightly cluttered desk serves as her workspace during virtual learning.

Adelaide Barrett, Staff Writer

OPINION: Virtual Learning Expectations Remain Unclear

Due to clarifications from administrators, relaxed expectations from teachers, and a successful adjustment period for students, McIntosh’s virtual instruction has significantly improved.
It has been just over two weeks since McIntosh transitioned to a virtual learning system. According to the most recent communication from the Fayette County Board of Education, schools will reopen to students and faculty on April 27 at the absolute earliest.
At first, the transition to virtual learning was rocky, verging on ineffective. I felt overwhelmed with work, yet simultaneously confused about my teachers’ expectations.
When The Trail interviewed senior Jaylen Smith on Mar 19, she also expressed discontent with the virtual learning arrangement.
“I think that some classes (especially math) expect us to learn at the same pace as we would if we were physically in school, which is impossible,” said Smith. “I was expecting virtual learning to help with my stress and anxiety levels, especially the second semester of my senior year. Instead, I’m more anxious and stressed than I would be at school.”
Furthermore, the lack of face-to-face interaction resulted in communication difficulties.
“I feel like it is more difficult to have a relationship with your teachers via email. Personally, I appreciate the chance to build a relationship with my teacher because it makes it easier to ask questions,” said Smith. “Now that we’re online, it is more difficult to maintain that relationship with teachers.”
However, on Mar 28, principal Dr. Dan Lane sent an email to parents and students. The email thanked parents, students and faculty for their hard work and flexibility in recent weeks, reiterated the established schedule for synchronous sessions, and then stated that “more information will be forthcoming about a possible change in the structure of virtual learning for after Spring Break.”
Then, the email established possibly the most important change to virtual learning thus far. According to Lane, “there are to be no penalties for late work during the time of school closure.” This policy, complete with the deactivation of the Infinite Campus automatic failure notifier, is intended to alleviate stress and anxiety for students.
So far, the revised policy seems to be effective.
“I still find myself overwhelmed with work during the week, but my teachers have become increasingly flexible and understanding” said Smith. “I think that Dr. Lane’s new policy on late work not being penalized has helped significantly. […] The added flexibility allows students to do assignments at their own pace and not feel overwhelmed.”
Smith is optimistic about the weeks ahead.
“As time goes on, I think that the online learning system will only get easier as everyone gets used to it and falls into a routine,” said Smith.