Opinion: The school year deserves to end early in response to COVID-19


Amidst COVID-19, distance learning has been introduced to continue students’ education during this burdensome time. A number of other solutions have also been considered for the continuation of education through distance learning. Even though COVID-19 has halted our lives, many believe that education should endure through this new format, especially so students do not fall behind in school.

Google Classroom is being used by teachers to post assignments and announcements for their students. However, students in the Redlands Unified School District are not required, only encouraged, to complete any schoolwork.

RUSD is operating under the policy that students’ third-quarter grades can only improve with these continued assignments, and their grades cannot ultimately decrease. As a result of the school year coming to such an abrupt end, students have the opportunity to better their second semester grades risk-free. With this in mind, some students have decided to not do any work as they are already content with their third-quarter grade.

Distance learning allows teachers to monitor the presence of their students and raise concerns if a student hasn’t been in contact with their teachers. 

“I think online school can be positive or negative. On the positive side, it gives students something to do with all this free time and keeps us educated,” said REV freshman Grace Campos. “However, on the negative side, this type of learning can come with internet issues which affects learning. In addition, everyone handles stress differently, so for some students, distance learning is great and others struggle with what is going on in the world and just can’t focus on school during this time.”

Despite the need to continue students’ education in the face of the pandemic, school districts have to consider the infinite number of situations that students might face at home. For example, poor Wifi connection, one computer for multiple students in a household or a lack of supervision from parents who still have to work are just a few factors to consider.

Elementary students in particular may have a more challenging time with the introduction of new platforms such as Zoom and Google Classroom. Parents who have to work full time might not have time to be there for their children to aid and motivate them, or have to rely on older siblings to step up and take on this position.

Moreover, College Board announced on March 16 that the SAT in May would be canceled in response to COVID-19, but they would finalize new ways to take AP exams at home. According to College Board, a survey given to 18,000 students showed that 91 percent preferred that AP exams continue, “urging [College Board] not to cancel this opportunity they have been working toward.”

AP students are able to take their exams this year on any device they have access to with modified rubrics for each exam. College Board claims, “to be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.” In addition, College Board also announced that the exams would be open-note with certain restrictions such as students cannot communicate with each other during an exam. 

However, depending on the resources a student has access to at home, preparing and taking exams poses advantages to those who have a better internet connection or multiple devices. For this reason, AP tests should have simply been canceled this year as it is not fair to all students and adds more stress to an already unfamiliar test-taking environment. 

According to San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, there have been 2,113 confirmed cases and 94 deaths in the county as of May 1. For households coping with an affected family member, it can be eminently stressful and challenging for students to continue their schoolwork. This does not give fair opportunities for students to improve their grade, especially if they are struggling with their mental health during this pandemic. 

REV junior Jakob Patino said, “I believe the school year should end early because there is a certain way of learning that comes from live, face-to-face interactions that have been factored out due to the shutdown. Interactions through a computer are not as immersive.”

Overall, the school year should end early due to the fact that some households have advantages in resources compared to others. Our world is facing a profoundly strenuous, stressful and fearful time and even leading medical and political officials aren’t sure how long our lives will remain like this. Schoolwork during this pandemic is demanding and only produces more stress. 

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://laplaza.press/2020/05/17/opinion-el-ano-escolar-deberia-terminar-temprano-a-causa-del-coronavirus/

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