How Online School Is Affecting Students


Fionnuala (Finn) Goodale, Local & National News

COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives, so it is not surprising that it has changed our school life and education as well. A large portion of the country is doing all online school, and some schools are also taking a hybrid approach, just like we have here at Pierson. Online school may have sounded ideal in the past, with sleeping in and being able to goof off during class, but the reality is a lot less enticing and more harsh than expected. 

This new way of getting an education can take a toll on anyone involved, especially teachers and students who experience it first hand. Eric Bettenger, a professor of Economics at Stanford, puts the concerns into words. He says, “Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that taking a course online, instead of in-person, reduces student success and progress in college. Grades are lower both for the course taken online and in future courses. Students are less likely to remain enrolled at the university.” Although applied to college courses in this example, this is relatively accurate when describing all levels of education when taken online. Students may feel less motivated to get up and follow through with school work if school does not include the fun aspects it always had. For many people, the best part of their day is seeing their friends in the hallway, eating in the cafeteria at lunch, and just getting to socialize. With most people doing online school from their own homes, it lacks the social side of school that many students and teachers used to enjoy. 

Along with the stress of a pandemic weighing on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing, it can be overwhelming and stressful to keep up with the amount of schoolwork everyone is presented with. Students’ grades are falling back more than ever, and even the brightest people may be finding it difficult to keep up. It can be hard to balance everything going on in life right now, especially with the new changes to our everyday lifestyle that are happening so frequently. Right now, it is more important than ever that we all be understanding and caring with each other because all of us are going through a lot. We all have to keep in mind that this is new for everyone, and that struggling or feeling behind is a completely normal response to what is going on. It can be helpful in times like this to find one or a few activities that you really enjoy and that can help you cope in a positive and healthy way. These things could be different for everyone, but exercise, journaling, drawing, reading, or listening to music could all be great examples. Finding a hobby you enjoy is a good idea to help calm yourself down and put your energy into something productive when you’re feeling stressed or confused. 

That being said, right now, it is important to just try your best in whatever you are doing. Everyone has different things going on in their lives, so being as caring and compassionate as possible will be key to all of us being as happy and healthy as possible in our new and ever changing COVID-19 lifestyle.