Online School, Coronavirus, and Quarantine

April 10, 2020
Jessica Budin

Delray Beach, Florida, United States

Class of 2020

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During this tough time, education is more important and at risk than ever. Teachers and professors across the globe are finding new ways to use online platforms to teach their students, from methods like Zoom, Google Classroom, and Schoology. While my personal online education does not begin until March 31, I wanted to go around my chapter, Acharit BBG, my region, Gold Coast Region, and the Order, to find out what virtual learning is all about.

When deciding what to ask, I wanted to get the most detailed answers I could, while keeping questions relatively simple and straightforward. After some brainstorming, I came up with three questions to ask, after name, grade, chapter, and region/country:

1. How has online school been in comparison to in-person classes?

2. Have you experienced any difficulties or issues with online school, in regards to contacting teachers for help or getting online communication (such as weak Wifi connection for a Zoom call) to work properly?

3. Overall, how do you feel about online school?

As a senior in high school myself, I think this is all very weird, for a lack of better words. I have taken online classes, in addition to my in-person classes at my high school, so I am familiar with how this all works. I am not thrilled to have to be spending the final months of my high school career without my best friends and teammates by my side, but I know this is what needs to happen to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and protect everyone I love and care about. I heard a quote recently, “Together at home”, and it seems very fitting right now. Together, we are at home with our families, and together, we are working towards the common goal of ending all of this to resume our normal lives. Our lives that happen together.

Acharit BBG

Sophie Gore, 11th Grade, Gold Coast Region
“So far online school hasn’t been too bad. Teachers have been very understanding and want to help us in any way possible. It’s weird to be at school but in my own home and just looking at a screen. I miss being in school with all of my friends but this way I can still see everyone. However, some teachers have never used platforms such as Zoom and Google Classroom which is somewhat stressful. Sometimes the screen may freeze up or cut out which makes me miss a little of what the teacher is saying. Most teachers however are adapting well to this change even though it has been difficult. Overall, I miss being in school and being with all my friends. However, so far online school is a lot more relaxed  since there are less assignments and the classes are shorter but I am worried about upcoming AP exams which are now online and if I will receive credit for AICE classes since exams were cancelled. ”

Dani Charlip, 9th Grade, Gold Coast Region
“I think online school is pretty difficult. It’s challenging to follow along with my teachers and classmates. I also am very distracted by the things in my house and it is hard to find a place in my house where I can focus on my work. I have had many difficulties through online school. My computer glitches, I can’t hear my teacher, and my wifi connection keeps dropping. Overall, I don’t like online school and I wish we could go back to in-person classes.”

Gold Coast Region

Rebecca Zilberman, 10th Grade, Gold Coast Region
“I honestly think that online school will be okay for the most part, but most of the kids won’t take it super seriously. I wish we were actually back in school because I miss all of my friends and my lacrosse teammates.”

Kyle York, 11th Grade, Gold Coast Region
“It isn’t that it’s different, it’s just hard to do the work, I think that has to do with the fact that it feels more like homework than classwork. I am already familiar with the platform we are using to learn. I don’t like it because I am missing the high school experience, but it is what it is.”

Leah Dgani, 10th Grade, Gold Coast Region
“Online school has been harder for me, because of how challenging it is to focus during my classes. I also think I have lost motivation to actually do my work. With online school, sometimes you can’t hear your teacher speak because of the poor connection. I feel that it is also harder to communicate with teachers due to them not checking their emails if I have a question about something. Overall, I don’t really like online school. I’d rather wake up at 6:00 AM than 8:30 AM to leave my house and go see my friends at school and the environment at school is so much easier to learn in than at home.”

International Order

Ally Youngstien, 11th Grade, Hudson Valley Region
“I like online school better because I don’t actually have to go to school. Plus, I can do the work on my own schedule and figure out the timing that works best for me. The communication has been kind of hard because we don’t actually get to see the teachers in person and sometimes they don’t check their emails. Overall, I like online learning better than in-person learning.”

Ellie Sims, 11th Grade, Mountain Region
“It’s been a bit weird because our teacher isn’t physically there, the work sometimes feels a bit like busy work. My teachers have been great resources and are here for us 110%. Overall, it’s the best solution for the situation that we’re in.”

Dani Szekely, 11th Grade, Hungary
“I think online learning is a good thing, since we don’t have to wake up early to get ready and commute to school, we can just get up 20 minutes before class and we are all set. I haven’t had any problems contacting my teachers when I had questions, they would always reply quickly and with good and helpful answers. Classes work really well online, of course people have problems with their wifi, but they can usually be solved pretty quickly. I feel like online school is a great solution to the problems that we are facing right now and maybe when this is all over and we have cured COVID-19, we can maybe continue to use some sort of online education besides physically going to school.”

Yuval Reznik, 11th Grade, North Texas Oklahoma
“Online classes have been so different compared to actually going to school, I can wake up and do things at my own pace as long as I get all of the work done by the deadline. I have not not experienced any issues or difficulties contacting my teachers, and communication seems to be working fine. Overall, I do like the ability to work at my own speed, but I do miss seeing all of my friends at school. I feel like this separation is crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19, though.”

Zoe Price, 10th Grade, Pacific Western Region
“In comparison to in person classes, online school has been easier and different. While being home may be more relaxing, for some it becomes harder to concentrate as there are more distractions and less rules, you only have self discipline at this point. For myself, I have been fine with that as I am able to keep working and have fun when it’s time. Coming with being at home, it is more comfortable and less pressure which I find makes it easier. I don’t feel the constant need to be scared to raise my hand because of getting the answer wrong or judgement. For me, having lower anxiety makes a big difference. I still have the option to ask questions but it’s more direct. In general, it’s much different in some ways but there is still structure and I get work done. While doing online school, there have been minimal difficulties. With nearly the whole country doing online school, it has slowed down the internet but that’s the main issue. Some teachers have had a harder time adjusting as they are not used to working from home and from a virtual perspective. All in all, it has been pretty easy. I prefer online school. It is much less stressful and gives you more freedoms and control. I am able to also be more relaxed, make lunch, and just take care of myself, as well as get all my work done and keep a solid structure. In the future it may be an option for me, and I have really liked doing it!”

Erin Seidman, 11th Grade, Big Apple Region
“I would say that online classes have been similar and different compared to regular school. For some classes, the teachers make a video which is a quarter of the time that they would normally teach in class. For others, though, the work is extensive and in-depth, which it usually isn’t in person. It is also especially hard to continue music classes at home, since it is meant to be done in person. For the most part, my teachers have been very accommodating when making the switch to at-home learning. Many have set up office hours or extra help on a conference call so that we can ask questions if we need to. They have also been on their emails and most have been pretty good about responding quickly. My school was already using Google Classroom as a main communication and learning method before Coronavirus, so the switch to technology has been pretty seamless unless Classroom decides to glitch. Overall, online school hasn’t been much different than regular school, except for the fact that I have to stay motivated throughout the day. With the lack of a designated school time, it is hard to stay on task and complete assignments in a timely manner. Procrastination is a big problem for me, and it can be tough to juggle other activities, such as exercising and attending BBYO On Demand events.”

Jessie Budin is a BBG from Acharit BBG #2543 in Gold Coast Region #51 and she had her Bat Mitzvah at Perlman Camp.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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