Distance to in Person and Vice Versa

Distance Learning Effects

Emitt Zorn, Reporter

Starting distance learning can either sound amazing or terrifying. Some people struggle with distance learning because it’s hard to stay on track and to turn in their assignments. On the other hand, some people might be excited about learning from home because they can sleep in and work at their own pace. However, some students are distance learning because of health reasons, whether they’re at high risk for catching COVID-19 or have other health risks keeping them home.

There are so many unique reasons why a person would start distance learning. An extreme example of switching to distance learning is Senior Emma Preston who switched from distance learning to in-person learning because she was hit by a forklift and broke her ankle. Upon first reading that you might think that she would switch to distance learning upon breaking her ankle but her reasoning is far more complex. Preston says, “I became very depressed due to the fact that I could not drive or go to work anymore.” As that states, it was depression brought about by the situation regarding her broken ankle. 

That might have been a bit of an extreme situation to switch. Some answers are as simple as improving your mental health. Sophomore Sophia Baldridge, switched to distance in hope of improving her mental health only to find that not having the requirement to get up and do stuff she fell into a worse mental state where she had no motivation to even get out of bed. She says, “Staying at home I did barely anything and could barely even get out of bed.” 

Baldridge is a good example of someone who has switched more than once between distance and in-person learning. Some people have been both distance and in-person at different times and others are splitting their schedule between distance and in person. I, personally, have my schedule split between distance and in-person having some classes online so they are easier for me to handle with my current schedule.

However, one must mention the rapid COVID testing that is currently the go-to when a school has too many cases. Both Preston and Baldridge believe it is a far more efficient way of handling the COVID-19 situation. 

Senior Suzette Martinez says “I think rapid testing is a good idea, given that Utah’s COVID cases are rising.” 

Taylorsville High school has had to go on a two-week dismissal twice before the start of the rapid testing, “Test to Stay” protocol. During the second dismissal there were mandatory Zoom calls which, depending on the teacher and the class, distance students would have to attend as well. For both distance students and in-person students, rapid testing comes with its advantages.

A unique reason for starting distance learning comes from Martinez who switched because she was moving. She thought it would give her time to prepare for moving as well as simply allow her to work at her own pace with her schedule. Of the people who were interviewed Martinez was the only one to not mention anything about mental health as a reason. Mental health was a reason for a lot of people to switch between the two available options but as this case shows, it isn’t always a prominent factor in the decision.

Reasons for switching between in-person and distance learning vary from person to person. Martinez mentioned that the number of COVID cases did have some say in her switching to distance. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the others are taking advantage of the opportunity provided to them.