Online Learning at Connersville High School

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Jordan Pyle, Editor

Impacted by COVID-19, schools across the country have switched to online school. Connersville High School implemented optional online learning for students. Though most students chose to attend in-person lessons after experiencing an early form of online learning in the spring, some have opted for online learning.

Students have their own reasons for choosing online learning, and many chose online because of at-risk family members. Alexis Brisco, a sophomore at CHS, shares this reasoning. She decided to do online learning instead of in-person learning because of a young family member at risk.

Brisco does miss aspects of in-person learning, however. “I miss my friends a lot and I miss just actually physically going to school,” Brisco said. She also mentioned that she is unable to participate in choir this year because there is no online option available.

Students who decided to attend school online are facing challenges beyond those endured traditionally. Some students have found online school more difficult for a multitude of reasons: not having a teacher there to help you in real-time, not being able to see friends every day, and not being able to attend certain classes.

Others in the school system who have also been affected by the changes. Teachers have had to adjust to the rapidly changing learning environment. Some have found it more difficult to develop the same kind of working relationships through a screen.

Kelsey Browne, a Spanish teacher at CHS, said, “You can’t get to know each other the same, you can’t talk the same.”

Browne has also had to adjust how she helps her in-person and online students at the same time. She said she has had to balance “what I expect them to be able to do on their own while acknowledging that, since I’m not there with them, they’re not able to do as much.”

“Both the students and the teachers—when it’s online learning—feel disconnected from one another and from the lesson,” said Paula Shouse, an English teacher at CHS.

Online learning does, however, offer students more freedom and opportunities to hold themselves accountable for their work. Students don’t have teachers peering over their shoulders during the school day, so they have to do that for themselves. Students at risk for COVID-19 are more likely to feel safe from the pandemic if they are in their homes instead of a communal space like a school.

“It [online learning] provides students and their parents with peace of mind, and the teachers, for that matter. I want to know my students are safe,” said Shouse.

Online learning provides an opportunity for students to stay safe from the pandemic; however, it has also affected hundreds of people within the school system in sometimes unexpected ways—both positive and negative.