A Day in the Life of a Fully Virtual Student 

As students at Jesuit High School begin to transition into a hybrid learning schedule, certain students choose to stay home and continue to learn in a fully-virtual setting. In this article, a fully-virtual student such as myself details what my day-to-day life is like and what shortcomings have begun to present themselves in our third week of hybrid learning.

February 23rd, 2021, 8:05am: 

First Period: My first period class and I spent a couple minutes testing out the speakers. So far, I can see a really great improvement with audio in my first period from last week because it’s easier to hear my classmates and distinguish what they’re talking about. As a fully virtual student, hearing my peers during a discussion was definitely the most frustrating part of classes during the first week of hybrid learning. Throughout the period, the camera is angled at both the classroom and the teacher, so online students see the perspective of both the students and the instructor, simulating an in-class experience.  

February 23rd, 2021, 9:26 am: 

Second Period: In my second period class, my teacher is conducting class remotely staying home. I can see a couple of students in the classroom, but most of them are sitting off-camera, probably so they know they’re not being watched. In all honesty, I feel a tad jealous of them as I know the virtual students are projected on the whiteboard for everyone to see, which, personally, makes me a little uncomfortable. In this class, it remains challenging to determine what students are saying. I can hear them, but they sound a little like the adults from the Peanuts cartoons. The discussions are open for students who want to participate from home, but I know that my peers and I are reluctant to speak up because it’s uncomfortable to know that your voice is being broadcasted from the classroom’s speakers.

February 23rd, 2021, 12:02 pm: 

Third Period: Kids in hybrid learning sit in the cafeteria for this class, which means the sound echoes, making it hard to hear. We later transitioned into breakout rooms that were half hybrid and half virtual, and it was nearly impossible to hear what was going on. My group finished pretty quickly, and the people on Zoom left soon after class started around 12:13 p.m. I worry about being fully-virtual in this class, as it’s an elective and most of the work will be “hands-on”, or utilizing small groups, so I worry that I won’t have a lot of chances to do productive work or pull my weight in the class this year. 

February 23rd, 2021, 1:25 pm: 

Fourth Period: I have an asynchronous fourth period class today, which I am thankful for as it gives students time to rest and get off Zoom, however I know some of my peers are still in class. I worry that I may be missing out on valuable information that students in hybrid learning are sharing through class discussions and other communal work. 

February 2th, 2021, 8:01 AM: 

Fifth Period: In my fifth period, my teacher has one camera facing them and one on my in-person classmates, which I appreciate because, like I said before, it shows me both perspectives. In this class, I know that we’re projected on the whiteboard for our in-person classmates to see at all times, so I try to keep my camera off. We were dismissed about half an hour into class, which is always nice because it prevents Zoom burnout, but I wonder if I’m missing out on some conversations that are happening in-person. 

February 2th, 2021, 10:50 AM: 

Seventh Period: When online students join the Zoom, the kids in class are talking pretty animatedly. The teacher attempts to get the kids in class to engage with everyone on Zoom, but the teacher’s attempts are unfortunately fruitless, as we can’t really distinguish what the people in class are saying. This class is a little tricky, as the teacher keeps referencing something written on the whiteboard and no one on Zoom can actually see the whiteboard. Our teacher puts us in our individual breakout rooms to work independently while the in-person students work on the activity in class. 

As I took time these last two days to detail facets of my day as a fully virtual student, I realized that one of the biggest challenges as an online student will be finding that balance between learning the information provided in lessons, and attempting to absorb the information being taught to your peers through discussions or clarifying questions asked by other students. As Jesuit continues to grow and learn throughout this hybrid process, it will be interesting to see how students at home absorb the information being taught to their classmates as we work through the complexities of juggling online and in-person learning.