HS Insider

Opinion: How coronavirus could affect schools moving forward

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Three weeks ago, La Cañada High School closed its doors indefinitely in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, its students, along with many others across the country, have transitioned into online or “distance” learning through platforms such as Google Classroom and Zoom.

It goes without saying that it has been difficult, to say the very least, for everyone to adjust to this temporary isolated way of living. However, the widespread adoption of remote learning might actually serve as a silver lining.

Although school districts were essentially forced to move classes online as a result of the current circumstances, this could potentially prompt a much-needed update to the current school curriculum.

Obviously, the quick pivot into virtual classes has resulted in quite a few bumps in the road, the main one probably being the actual quality of education.

Regardless of what age they are, when a student goes from a restricted and supervised classroom to the freedom of their own room, there are endless new opportunities for distractions, especially since they already have their computers open to attend class.

The other major problem is that some students do not have internet access at home, putting them at a great disadvantage compared to the rest of their peers.

But maybe it should not have to be this way. Maybe this is a sign that we need to change.

For better or for worse, technology is rapidly becoming an increasingly integral part of our lives, and that extends to the workplace. Working remotely is more popular than it has ever been before, and it is about time that schools start to hop on the trend. According to a Gallup survey, 43% of Americans occasionally work from home, as of 2016, which is a 39% increase from 2012.

As the world becomes more and more technologically driven, it will be harder for students to adjust once they graduate if schools just stay the same.

Not only will incorporating remote learning into the school curriculum better prepare students for the modern-day work environment, but it could also significantly improve their overall high school experience.

Despite popular opinion, working at home actually facilitates a stronger work ethic. One Stanford study found that employees who work from home are 13% more productive compared to their in-office counterparts.

Not only that, but it is also highly cost-efficient. For example, IBM has saved about $100 million annually during its remote-work program from 1995 to 2009.

Most importantly, however, more distance learning-esque teaching methods could help students have a happier and healthier time in high school. One of the main issues today regarding high schoolers is the amount of stress that they have to go through on a daily basis.

Especially as colleges and universities become increasingly selective with every year, students’ stress levels will only go up. However, periodic days of distance or remote learning could potentially help alleviate that anxiety.

Staying at home would allow students to sleep more since they would not have to actually take the time to get to school. This would provide tremendous help to their mental state and their academic performance, as high schoolers’ insufficient sleep schedules are one of the primary causes of high stress levels, and poor concentration and work efficiency.

Also, just the mere fact that they are studying at home instead of at school will decrease stress, as that is where most students feel most comfortable and relaxed.

Just adjusting the school schedule so there are remote learning days once a week or even once a month will better prepare students for their futures in constantly innovating work environments and help them not become overwhelmed with stress.

It is also a matter of helping students have a happier high school experience. One of the main issues today regarding school is the amount of stress that high schoolers have to go through on a daily basis.

Periodic days of distance or remote learning could potentially help alleviate that stress. If this was under different circumstances, this distance learning would prove to be much less stressful than regular school hours.

The COVID-19 panic has had a devastating and at the very least impactful effect on all of our lives. However, there may be a good thing to come out of this: the realization that we need to change our school systems for the sake of the well being and success of future generations.

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