Pro/Con: Why Jesuit Should/Should Not Continue to Provide a Virtual Learning Option for the 2021-2022 School Year
June 1, 2021
The past year has provided plenty of insight into the most effective forms of education for students of all ages and abilities. Virtual learning has been the answer to a socially-distanced school experience for most, and many students thrived in the online setting, while others’s mental health suffered.
Jesuit has decided it will be completely in-person for the 2021-2022 school year, but should they continue to offer a virtual learning option?
Why Jesuit Should Not Continue to Provide a Virtual Learning Option for the 2021-2022 School Year
Jesuit should teach classes entirely in-person for the upcoming school year in order for teachers to avoid the difficulties of teaching both online and in-person. In-person schooling would also guarantee students’ face-to-face interaction, which could benefit their academic and social performance.
According to ineducationonline.org, teachers may find it difficult to control the virtual environment, especially in terms of student attendance, which interrupts the flow of class.
One example of teachers not being able to control the virtual environment is when those who are virtual turn off their cameras. This leaves the teacher in a difficult position, as they do not know whether the student is paying attention or not.
Also, students who learn in-person are able to socialize with their classmates and engage in face-to-face interaction with their teachers when they need help.
According to vittana.org, virtual learning limits the amount of time students have to make friends and socialize with their peers, which can cause isolation. With in-person school, students are able to interact with others, which benefits their mental health.
Additionally, virtual learning during the pandemic revealed many inequities in the American education system, including the fact that low-income students and students with learning challenges are more likely to struggle.
Students who are low-income might not have access to materials that higher-income students might have. Those who learn slower and/or need to interact with a teacher in person might have a harder time retaining information taught online.
As Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, says remote learning is a supplement, not a substitute, for in-person instruction.
Why Jesuit Should Continue to Provide a Virtual Learning Option for the 2021-2022 School Year
Jesuit should continue to provide a virtual learning option for the upcoming school year, as it would allow students who thrive in an online setting to continue learning to their full potentials from the safety of their homes.
According to an article by The Washington Post, remote learning is in high-demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the article, Harvard University’s Education Redesign Lab found that school systems continue to advocate for online learning despite the return to in-person school.
One benefit of online learning is keeping students and teachers safe. If Jesuit were to provide an online learning option for the upcoming school year, students might feel more safe and less worried about the spread of COVID-19.
Students and teachers with underlying health conditions might also feel more comfortable staying at home, since their chances of getting sick are higher. Even those who have been vaccinated can still catch COVID, so providing an online learning option could be beneficial to ensure the safety of many students and teachers.
In addition, some students have found that they thrive in the virtual classroom, despite the fact that they are staring at a screen for several hours a day.
Many students enjoy learning from home compared to in-person, as it eliminates any need to wake up early and spend time and money commuting to school. It also provides a comfortable learning space with access to food and bathrooms, which is especially important for students with underlying health conditions.
Providing students with a virtual learning option for the 2021-2022 school year would help Jesuit students and teachers who are worried about the spread of COVID-19. It could also benefit those who thrive in an online learning environment.