What Would it Take for Students to Want to Return to In-Person learning?


Dennis Racket

Virtual School Perks: Some students are content with the way online learning is going. While it’s not perfect, some Dubs enjoy their extra free time, better lunches, and getting to spend more time with their furry friends.

When the announcement was made by Atlanta Public Schools (APS) that the 2020-2021 school year would begin virtually, many students were saddened by the news. Now 10 weeks into the new school year, some of those feelings have changed. Many students have found the pros, alongside the obvious cons, of virtual learning. This newfound normal, and the advantages that come with it, have made many Dubs feel differently about if, when, and under what circumstances they would consider returning to in-person learning.

Like anything, virtual learning took time to get used to. What used to seem draining and miserable to most students has now turned into a unique learning experience with numerous perks. “I love being able to sleep in longer, eat yummy lunches instead of bagged lunches, and be with my dog all day,” said junior Emma Adamson. “I honestly love virtual school.”

Many students feel the same way as Adamson. They listed similar reasons for liking virtual school. More free time. More sleep. Better lunches. Dogs all day. How could one complain?

However, virtual school won’t be here forever. No specific date of return has been given but APS has confirmed that no one will return to in-person learning until at least January 2021. However, that doesn’t mean everyone will want to. Many students will not even consider returning to the building until certain requirements are met. “In order for me to want to return to the building, teachers would have to be teaching in person, not through a screen. There should be no Zoom involved with in-person school,” said sophomore Ben Song. “The original plan APS presented with silent lunch and sitting quietly in classrooms with no social interaction made in-person seem more like prison than school.”

Even still, for some students, no plan APS presents will be enough to convince them. At some point, we’ll all be back in school and Covid-19 will be a somewhat distant memory. As for the near future, however, it’ll be up to the students and their parents to decide what they think is best for their kid: virtual or in-person. As long as that choice is available, some students will continue to choose virtual. “I don’t want to go back to in-person learning. I miss the building and seeing my friends everyday, but I like virtual school more,” said sophomore Virginia Odom. “I’m doing much better in school. I have way more free time and I get more sleep. Honestly, I don’t even know what it would take for me to want to and choose to return to school.” 

While it seems the school is a bit divided on whether or not they want to go back and what would make it worth it, one thing can be agreed on: there are definite pros and cons for both. As for right now, a return to in-person school isn’t in sight for the Dubs, but for many, that’s seemingly quite alright.