We have to go back

Masks+have+joined+pencils+and+notebooks+as+essential+school+supplies.

Tyler Blandin

Masks have joined pencils and notebooks as essential school supplies.

Under COVID-19, students have been out of school for months, and it is impacting their education and social lives. The Perry faculty has adapted well however, many teachers find it much easier to teach in person, and more hands-on classes are finding online learning restrictive. Last year’s seniors were robbed of prom and a proper graduation, this year’s students should not get the same treatment.

Students may also find the social aspect of school missing, as it is becoming almost impossible to meet new people in an online classroom. Student communication is important in class, and some students are reluctant to ask teachers for help, instead asking their classmates, now that can no longer happen. The collaborative environment of the classroom has vanished, replaced by a screen full of profile pictures and grey squares. Student connection is important, and many students find themselves more isolated than ever during online learning.

The lack of a social experience also includes students potentially missing several important events. Homecoming this year is cancelled or delayed, and students no longer even get to hear announcements in the morning. Lunch, the center of student life, is gone, and friends who only saw each other in school, no longer see each other everyday. School is so much more than simply a place to be educated, and to treat online as a proper substitute deprives students of the high school experience.

Sciences seem especially hard-hit, as in-person labs are an important part of the class, and with students out of school it is simply not possible. Watching a video of an experiment is not the same, and destroys the lab experience. It is not just electives that are suffering, core classes are being forced to lower quality in order to be put online.

There are so many hands-on classes at Perry that cannot be properly experienced at home: sculpture, culinary, band, orchestra and physical education come to mind. Students taking film and photography classes now no longer have a studio, and lack licenses to Photoshop and Illustrator. Dancers have to practice over meets, which means delayed sound, or trying to find a space in their homes to video themselves.

Perry High School means more to its students and teachers than just education, and under lockdown, that experience is suffering. Going back to school will be a challenge, but online is just not cutting it for many programs and courses, students need to go back this fall.