By Elias Azizi, Contributing Writer
The spread of COVID-19 has affected our lives and services greatly. From the mass closure of non-essential businesses during the lockdown to the closure of schools, the pandemic has been impactful. As we start the 2020-2021 school year, it is evident that it will be different, and likely online. In the United States and Canada, the majority of states are planning on opening schools with extra health protocols. However, attendance is not mandatory, in the sense that you may choose to opt-out of in school learning and continue your education online. It might seem hard to choose between online and in person schooling, as we haven’t had much experience with online learning. Fear not, this article will display the pros and cons of online schooling.
Safety: this is arguably the best pro of online school. When you are at home, isolated from anyone outside of your household, it is impossible to contract and spread any virus. When at school, there are a lot of ways that a virus can spread. Students share books, share desks with other students in other periods, use bathrooms that have been used by others… the sources of virus spread are limitless. However at home, if you and your family leave rarely, you’ll be safe from COVID-19.
The comfort: many people can feel uncomfortable at school in person. This discomfort may be caused by bullying, introversion, or mental illness. At home, except for cyberbullying, you can be yourself since you’re in your own den. When doing online school, you will be alone in your room for the majority of the day; an introvert’s dream.
Saving money: based on the ATU, 55 percent of students use transportation like school buses to get to school. Yes, the school bus is usually a free source of transportation, but not all students can take it. A large chunk of students uses public transit, which isn’t free, to get to school. For these students, if they choose to stay home, they will ultimately save money because they no longer have to pay to use public transit in the morning.
These three reasons might make online schooling look like the greatest option for the 2020-2021 school year, but remember that there are also many cons too.
Isolation: long term online schooling will have devastating effects on one’s mental health and wellbeing. Being isolated from your peers for months can make one feel lonely since they aren’t even speaking in person with their friends. One may argue that this can be easily avoided by facetiming with friends but face it, in person conversations tend to be better than ones through phones. Not to mention, long term at home learning can impact our ability to interact with others. One may get too used to online schooling to the point where they may struggle to have conversations with their peers once school is back in person. This may all seem extreme, but it is always likely, quite likely.
Teachers are not trained to teach virtually: when adults become teachers, the training they face and the things they learn will benefit them in person learning. A pandemic happens rarely so it makes sense that teachers aren’t trained to teach online. However, without adequate online schooling training, the majority of educators will struggle to teach their lessons and manage their class. This lack of training can lead to poor education, which can have a drastic effect on a student’s performance in future classes.
After considering the pros and cons of online schooling, it’s hard to state if it is better or worse than in person schooling. Essentially, it’s a choice between in person interactions and safety. Everyone wants to be safe, but everyone also likely wants to go to school and have in person lessons instead of virtual ones. The decision is ultimately up to each student, and their preferences.