Some choose to stick with virtual learning

  With the rising cases of Covid-19 over the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school year, Nixa High School students had the opportunity to continue learning in a school environment or learn remotely from home. With the few short weeks of remote learning from the school year during the Covid-19 outbreak,  students chose to remain in a school setting the following year. However, there were some students who decided to learn remotely. Sophomore Thomasina Brown decided to spend her freshman year at home, learning virtually. 

   “It was alright, it wasn’t my favorite,” Brown said. 

   The idea of learning virtually was new to everyone. The uncertainty in the summer of 2020 left some confused as to what would happen that following school year. With rising cases and health concerns, Brown decided to stay home her freshman year of high school. While staying virtual already gave her the feeling of being disconnected, Brown stated that she felt the school made virtual students feel singled out.

   “It just kind of felt like I was watching things from the sidelines,” Brown said. “I would get all these emails from the high school and maybe one of them would mention ‘hey virtual students, you should do this…’ and it felt like I wasn’t a Nixa student anymore. It was weird.”

   Virtual students completed their school year from home, but there was some stress about the coming year. Students, especially freshmen,  who decided to return fully in person the next year had no idea where to go. In their virtual year, Brown explained how she was told not to come to Freshman Orientation at Nixa High School during her virtual year. While that made sense at the time, that left room for error in the following year. 

   “Knowing where all my classes were was a big stressor coming back from virtual,” Brown said. “ I spent 3 hours at the high school during the open house trying to figure out where everything was. This is just a really big building so I had no idea where I was going, but I’m glad that I have a lot of friends in my classes so that they could help me.”

   Sophomore  Illyria Bogner opted to remain seated her freshman year at the high school. Bogner experienced some changes while attending seated classes and after school activities compared to years prior to the Covid-19 virus. 

   “It was different, everybody was wearing masks, “ Bogner said. “Drama club didn’t have any meetings besides one, and it was the kickoff event. We weren’t allowed to do anything else because of Covid restrictions. That definitely sucked.”

   Although Bogner said she was anxious, she was content on her choice of learning

   “I’m glad that I stayed seated,” Bogner said. “It wasn’t necessarily safe but I have a lot of anxiety so I think it was better that I stayed seated. I wouldn’t be able to learn virtually. I need that face to face contact and when I have a question I need someone to explain it to me in person.”

    Bogner prefers the in-person learning experience, but she recognizes a positive aspect of the virtual learning environment. 

   “It helped my mental health a lot because I was able to take a break when I needed to,” Bogner said. “In school, you can’t really do that. If I was really stressed about a topic I could take a 5 minute cool down and step away from it.”