Unintended Consequences of Online School


Samantha Brandts Editor in Chief

Joelle Brandts 9 falls asleep during class. (photo illustration)

Marco Haynes, Staff Writer

Students this year at Wilson High School will partake in virtual and in-person learning due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have to learn a new teaching style and students have to learn a new way of being educated. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts, right now students and teachers are online until Jan. 28. 


Many students have been feeling very pessimistic about the current state of learning and dealing with an increase in hours spent in class in the past two months. Students from all grade levels took a survey conducted by Wilson Loudspeaker to understand how they were doing since the beginning of online school. 


“Staying focused in class and trying to retain the information I’ve learned,” said a Wilson student who wanted to remain anonymous.


Since the first day of school, many students responded that they struggled to work through their classes. 


“Following lessons on zoom and staying focused and only having 10 minutes in between classes is very difficult,” said the Wilson student.


Since the beginning of the school year, students have had the same issues. Many students complained about receiving too many assignments from their teachers or having trouble focusing during class. When the school increased the time in each class from one hour to one hour and 28 minutes, students became concerned about their personal mental and physical health. 


“Not seeing people, stress, loneliness, depression, harder workloads, makes life incredibly difficult,” another Wison student said. 


Some reported that they had problems with motivation to get up and learn on zoom. On the survey conducted by the Loudspeaker, 73.5% of students agreed that a shorter time in class would help them stay focused and motivated during their zoom classes. Many of the students all had similar problems, but it seems like students with more classes are the ones affected the most. According to the survey, 54.1% of students have 7-8 classes and 42.9% of students have 5-6 classes. The more classes that a student has, the more stress they have, and less time to do their work for each class.  


“Health declines, lack of social interaction, the decline in vision, back pain, stress, teachers assigning much more work than usual,” said a student replying to a question on the survey about the hardest part of online school. 


As online school continues to progress, students have become more stressed out. When students had to begin learning online in March, many struggled to learn in a new way, but the district changed the grading system to credit/no credit to help students that had other important events going on in their life to give some comfort and relieve stress. 


At the beginning of school this year, the learning structure was different than it was when students left school. Teachers and students had to use a new learning management system called Canvas. Through Canvas, teachers assign work, give grades, and message students.  All zoom classes became mandatory for students to join and grades went back to normal. 


Students’ schedules were different as well. The first two weeks each class was 50 minutes long but the school kept the block schedule they had previously during the normal school year. The first two weeks were a way for students and teachers to learn and adapt to a new way of learning.


After the two weeks progressed, the classes went back to their regular length. The schedule changed and the time in class was increased to 88 minutes. 


“The hardest parts are the long days in front of my screen, zooms, and then hours of homework that follows,” said a student responding to the survey. 


Online school officially began and since then many students haven’t enjoyed the change of scenery. Longer hours meant more time on the computer which led to an increase in stress and loss of motivation for many students attending Wilson High School. 


There were a few positive responses to the changes in learning and not having to go to school. Many enjoy the aspect of getting to their classes with the simple steps of going on their computer and joining anywhere. 


“Some enjoyed the fact that they can learn anywhere, not only in their rooms. Many of my teachers have been very understanding and receptive to students’ concerns and problems,” said a student responding anonymously to the survey. It seems most students enjoy not physically being at school despite some of the challenges. 


As online school has been the current solution for teaching students, sports have been bringing back their players, and many of the students who answered the survey are also doing a sport. From soccer to basketball and football, it seemed everyone had other activities outside of school which made it more stressful for these students that have to complete school work as well as attend their extracurricular activities.