Comparing distance learning at SJC to neighboring high schools

Since the beginning of quarantine, teachers and students throughout the country have had to quickly adapt to distance learning. All work, classroom teachings, and materials have had to unexpectedly be transferred from a physical form to an online form. Over the past few weeks, I have “virtually interviewed” a few students from neighboring high schools as well as a Saint John’s students. These varying schools include Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Georgetown Preparatory School, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, and Gonzaga College High School. Their individual insights into distance learning prove to be both similar and different to that of Saint John’s. 

I asked each student a series of questions surrounding topics such as their current workload versus their normal workload during the regular school year, their favorite and least favorite parts of distance learning, as well as their day-to-day schedules during COVID-19 quarantine. Dimitri Vassiliou ‘22, a student at Georgetown Prep, receives about three to four hours of work a day with a heavier workload than he did in the regular school year. Although he enjoys the lack of commute in the mornings, he misses the after life of the school day playing sports. Vassiliou also added that he would shorten the school day if he was able to. “Being on a computer for six hours straight can have a negative impact,” Vassiliou said. 

Visitation students, according to Bridget Keon ‘22, receive about the same amount of work, proving more rigorous with additional homework to complete. Bridget enjoys getting more sleep, but adds that she would decrease the workload and have a lessened Zoom schedule. 

Ava Brooks ‘22 from Stone Ridge, works from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon with one to three hours of homework after the day wraps up. Brooks said, “I receive less work than I normally would during the regular school work. If we had less screen time and fewer Zooms I think that would benefit us as well.” 

A student from Gonzaga, Campbell McVie ‘22 said at first he had more work than usual but after spring break the school’s schedule changed. “Now we have only 4 classes a day and whatever we do not complete becomes homework,” Campbell said. If he could change one thing about distance learning, he would wish for more time to complete work while also having less screen time. 

For a Saint John’s perspective, I spoke with Megan Draley ‘22. Draley receives about three hours of work a day and believes the workload to be roughly the same as beforehand. She enjoys the additional hours of sleep in the morning but misses playing sports. Megan also says that remaining online and staring at a screen all day is not necessarily beneficial. Megan hopes that distance learning and social distancing will come to an end by the beginning of next school year. 

Overall, the individual students I interviewed provided similar answers surrounding the topic of distance learning. With three to four hours of work a day and additional homework, students from neighboring high schools in our area are working hard to finish out the school year in an unfamiliar way. Although there is no other alternative to keeping up with school other than Zoom calls and online learning, many agree that time away from the screen is important. As an educational community, teachers and students are doing everything they can to adapt and make the most out of this unpredictable experience. 

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