Remote Learning in Review: Yea or Nay?


David Furst, Writer

We are, as a society, extremely close to putting this COVID thing behind us. As of writing this article, the U.S. average is at about 29% of people fully vaccinated, which is incredible, and awesome and powerfully hope-inspiring. However, we aren’t there yet and staying safe until the end is important. The biggest measure of safety is social distancing, and for students that translates to remote, virtual learning. I want to take this opportunity to write a “year in review” of remote learning with a consideration of the benefits and drawbacks.


Let’s get the downsides out of the way. The hardest sticking point shared by many of my peers is the issue of motivation. Donovan Michel ’21 puts it succinctly: “Remote learning makes motivation for schoolwork more challenging.” The guidance that a good teacher can provide is much harder to deliver through a screen, and students are left realizing that motivation is hard. This is in no small part due to the countless distractions we have at easy access, from the internet to food to household necessities that we would normally not have to address during a school day. The combination of all of these factors makes learning through a screen extremely difficult.


However, there are definite upsides. One that I can resonate with is pointed out by Andres Rios ’21: “No more wasted time traveling.” Whether one’s daily commute is long or short, the time saved from being able to access school at home adds up. I know personally I felt my time open up and my sleep schedule gain some hours as a result of this time saved. Another significant upside is a reframing of a downside- turn “distractions” into “freedom”. I can easily step away for a moment to grab a snack and disturb nobody in my class. I don’t have to ask to use the bathroom or to step away to refill my water bottle. While these are technically still distractions, the freedom of simple movement is a blessing. Remote learning offers some other freedoms, such as more flexibility in schedule. For example, grabbing a nap during lunchtime is actually feasible now, which is a major positive. In the wise words of Alexander Ursu ’21, “sleeeeeep.”

Obviously, in person school is unsafe and not a possibility. On the whole, I would say I am a fan of remote learning. It isn’t that bad, and despite the significant downsides there are mitigating upsides that make the whole process at least decent. I hope we can reopen schools safely, but in the meantime I am happy to stay safe and participate as a student in remote learning.