Story by Anna Hardin
The 2021-2022 school year has brought many changes for Greater Clark County Schools(GCCS). The largest change has been the elimination of the My School Online virtual learning option and the creation of an alternative online option referred to as the Virtual Academy. Unlike last year, parents were required to enroll students in the new online option during the summer break. Also, this year, in-person students are no longer permitted to switch over to the virtual learning option as they were last year with My School Online.
Senior Shay Graziano, aMy School Online student last year who returned to in-person school this year, states “Honestly I switched back to normal school [this year] because I found that I was unmotivated to do work and procrastinated a lot. Literally almost failed my art class because of it. Something about me being at school instead of at home makes me work differently.”
Last year, the online option created many challenges for teachers and students alike. My School Online required teachers to design and teach lessons simultaneously for both in-person students and online only students, and online only students were often required to attend virtual Google Meets to interact with teachers. Although there were some students and families who benefited from My School Onlinelast year because of concerns over COVID-19, some online only students struggled and fell behind in their learning.
Whereas the elimination of My School Online has helped some students who struggled with virtual learning last year return to in-person school, some students who actually did better with virtual learning have been forced to return to in-person school without any available online option. The elimination of My School Online for in-person students has also created some confusion for students who have been quarantined during the school year dueto Covid and forced to work from home without a virtual learning option to connect them to their classes.
Additionally, students who have enrolled in theVirtual Academy option for this school year are not allowed to participate in sports or extracurricular activities unlike students enrolled in My School Online last year. For some students, being able to play sports and participate in extracurricular activities was the primary reason that they chose to return to in-person school. “The reason I’m not going online is because I play volleyball, and if I go online, I can’t do sports anymore,“ says Junior Bella Hall.
The return to in-person school has been a shock to many students who spent last year online only. For many returning students, the hallways have never seemed so jammed packed with people and it’s been hard to adjust. “The hardest thing about being back at school is probably the fact that you are around so many different people at once and our school does not have the capacity to distance everyone. It is not their fault, but you never know who is sick and who isn’t until it’s too late and you’re already exposed,” says Hall.