The Double-Edged Sword of Distance Learning

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Provided by Bindiya Bhangu

Freshman Bindiya Bhangu is Vice President of the Class of 2024. She lives in Oak Hills and used to struggle with her schedule. She states, “Some events in ASB required me to stay late and that conflicted with homework.” She adds that for most events she stays at school right after her classes, causing a delay with the other tasks she has to do. With distance learning, she can now balance her work schedule with ease.

Angelica Baclig, Journalist

According to Los Angeles Times, there are more than 700,000 coronavirus cases in California as of September 9, 2020. With these many cases, schools across California are forced to do distance learning, including University Preparatory.

As the school year progresses, students are getting comfortable with distance learning. Online school has limits to it though. Many students struggle with issues they cannot control such as WiFi issues, computer problems, balancing school work and duties at home, and more. For others, online school has given them benefits such as flexibility in their schedules, finding time management skills— and for those who are not so busy with duties at home— more time to find new hobbies. 

“Sorry, my internet was not working earlier.” “I can’t hear you.” “Can you guys hear me?” “I didn’t understand the lesson because my wifi was acting up.” All these problems cannot be controlled. According to Pew Research Center, more than 67% of students in high school or less say that an interruption in their internet would be a problem for them. 

When asked if he has any struggles with distant learning, sophomore Manuel Alcala answered, “Sometimes I get some tardies because my WiFi cuts out.” Alcala also stated, “my computer is just very slow, and it kicks me out of the class…. teachers mark me absent because of that.” He, along with many other students, are having the same issues. 

Similar to Alcala’s struggle with distant learning, junior Hilary Gil-Salazar states, “At times, during a Zoom meeting I start getting really laggy and it just disconnects and it takes 2 minutes to even 2 hours to connect again.” She also said that her internet starts to act slow during a test which is inconvenient, considering that it has an impact on her grade. Students who are having issues with technology are encouraged to contact the TechED department through email at [email protected] or call them at 760-955-3214. VVUHSD buses are also being placed throughout the community to serve as hotspots to help students with free WI-FI.

As seniors struggle to turn in college applications and surpass their last year in high school, distance learning also challenges them. When asked about his struggles with distance learning, senior Jason Bonilla said dealing with college applications is a big issue. “It’s hard to deal with when you don’t have counselors immediately accessible face to face,” Bonilla states. 

Although it might not be the same as in person, you may still meet with the school counselors through Google Meet after school, Monday through Friday. Meet codes were sent out by email at the start of the school year. For now, any student from any grade may show up on any day. Another way to contact the school counselors is directly by email. For seniors, you may also contact Mrs. Miranda, our college/career center technician through Remind (code: 9hdahg8).

With all these struggles there are also many people who are taking distance learning as a way to find new hobbies, and take advantage of the simplicity of it. With the choice to self-pace, homework can now be ten times faster. Considering that students have 3 hours less of school, there’s also no need to get up so early and prepare. 

University Preparatory is a parent-choice school meaning that there are no busses or provided transportation. Some students drive from far away just to get to school when there was on-campus learning. Driving far meant getting up early to arrive on time. 

Freshman Bindiya Bhangu is a part of the many students who commuted far to get to campus. Bhangu used to commute from Oak Hills to Victorville when school was held in person. She is part of ASB and is Class of 2024’s Vice President. “It was really hard for me to go to school and come back home for events…” Bhangu states when was asked about her complications with on-campus learning. Because of this, she said she had to stay at school for her events. Bringing stuff for the events also presented a challenge for her. Bhangu explains that if it weren’t for online school she would’ve been planning events and would’ve been busier. She adds that it would’ve been harder to get all the events together and include homework and school, she says that distant learning has made balancing her tasks much easier.

Shown here is sophomore Jade Amaya’s setup when she makes music. Distant learning has given her the opportunity to focus on music and her platform. She states, “I want to get into the music industry one day and hopefully own a studio.” As of now, Amaya continues to grow her platform on YouTube. (Jade Amaya)

Sophomore Jade Amaya benefits from distant learning and spends her free time now making music. Amaya states, “I have more time to make music because of how short school is and I get to finish homework much faster.” She further explains that distant learning has helped her grow her platform with music online.

With more than 1.2 billion children around the world affected by this pandemic and trying distance learning, many students will encounter disadvantages and advantages with it. Only time will tell when we can go back to on-campus learning, but for now distant learning it is.