In-Person Learning: To Go or Not to Go

As more than 121,000 CPS students are returning to in-person learning, many are debating if its worth it. Whether you’ve just made the decision to stay home, you’ve opted in but you’re still on the fence about coming back, or you’re reading this in school, wondering if you’ve made the right choice, every student has considered the pro’s and con’s of returning to school.

On the “Pro” side of remote learning, some of the arguments are from a psycho-social perspective. Claire Macelliao ‘21 from Whitney Young appreciates the time it gives her, saying, “Remote learning allows me to schedule my time however I want, and gives me more freedom to work on other things unrelated to school.” Elizabeth Barczak ‘21 communicates a more rational reason for being pro-remote, explaining, “I can wake up 5 minutes before class.” Equally important as an argument comes from Alexandrium Flores ‘22, who voiced his health concerns, saying that remote learning involves “less risk from getting or being exposed to COVID.” Though the numbers are down since the opening of schools, there have been both students and teachers who have contracted COVID since reopening, according to CPS data. Opinions backing up remote learning seem to come from a both rational and emotional side. 

From those who support a return to school, many cite the very quality of their education as a deciding factor contributing to their support for a return. Sarah Zhao ‘21 mentions, “It’s hard to pay attention to a screen for that long, making it hard to learn.” Even at the collegiate level, there’s evidence of decreased performance as a result of remote learning. Many students in the senior class support a return to in-person learning, as Afrika Hooks ‘21 explains, “None of the aspects of school that I look forward to (like socializing, performing, and even getting away from my household) are present.” Mannie Tan ‘21 uses her observations of her own mental health as a driving factor towards her preference for in-person learning, noting on her experience with remote learning, “It’s very easy to lose motivations.” Similarly, the arguments that support in-person learning come from concerns of both students’ mental health and their academic wellbeing. 

At the end of the day, the decision of whether or not to come back is up to the concerns of students and their families. For seniors, this may feel like a big choice, as this will be their last chance to experience high school in person. To you all, I say good luck. To everyone else, remember that you’ll have time to be in person later on, so make sure that the decision you make fits your needs as a student, but also as a human being.