Are Skyline Students’ Settling in After Online School? Will They Get the Full High School Experience?


Since May, 2020, students all over the country have had to adapt to a new academic environment. Because of this, many students feel as though they’re being robbed of the normal high school experience. 

The Skyline Post created a survey to gather information on students’ personal experiences, opinions, and ideas about this worldwide pandemic. The survey was made available in class, Schoology groups, and through word of mouth and gathered 150 responses. The Post followed up with three students per grade level for more questions.  

75.3% of surveyed students said they focused better in-person versus online. 

Motivation is a very important aspect of completing schoolwork and even attending in the first place. Virtual school didn’t have physical interpersonal communication, which made students feel as if attending their classes weren’t as important as previous years. This, coupled with technological issues that were bound to happen, made online school rocky and unpleasant for many students. 

“I struggled during online school last year because I was losing all of my personal connections with people, ultimately making me feel isolated,” said freshman Vera Naines. “I lost all motivation.” This was a common response to our survey. 

When it comes to academic flexibility, most students surveyed prefer online school.  However, the majority ruled that in-person schooling was ideal for high school students.  Based on our data, although classes may be more difficult in person and deadlines more inexorable, it was easier for students to connect to their peers and get a more conventional high school experience in person.

56.7% of students said they liked online school sometimes. 26% said they didn’t like online school at all.

“I definitely prefer in-person school, especially since I am a people-person,” says sophomore Sophia Nielsen. “But classes and learning were really hard online, especially since it is hard to focus on a computer for several hours.”

The Post was curious whether students who like online school enjoyed the extra resources they had access to while doing work from home. Or perhaps if having access to the kitchen all day was a reason behind their preference. 

During follow-up interviews, it seemed there was actually a split between liking the online resources and in-person resources

“Having teachers in person is very helpful because they can help me find things,” said freshman Ellie Westhoff.  “But also being online gives me more website tools and things that you wouldn’t have access to in person, so it’s kind of a tie for me.” 

Juniors had three quarters of their freshman year in-person and then most of or all their sophomore year online. This has impacted their overall experience. “You miss some of the social connection just because you can’t see anyone’s full face so you miss some expressiveness,” says junior Isabella Tucker.

Many students felt disappointed when big events that were important to them were affected, like homecoming, joining clubs, going to sporting events, even meeting up with friends. Upperclassmen shared the same opinion with online-schooling, however, some had different takes. 

“I think [online school and virtual school] have pros and cons but I definitely prefer in-person, because it’s a lot easier to connect with people,” says senior Trinity Morton. 

Junior Ainsling Brannock added, “I feel like freshman year had a lot of hand holding, where junior year doesn’t have a lot of help.” It wasn’t only Ainsling who said this. Most upperclassmen felt they were getting less help at the beginning of this year compared to their freshman year. 

Most students surveyed reported that they prefer online education because of materials that are not available in person. However, the majority said that in-person learning was best for learning them. 

According to our statistics, even if classes are more challenging in person and deadlines are more rigid, it is easier for students to interact with their friends and have more traditional high school experiences during this time. In the end helping most students feel productive, and less behind. 

In person school opened more doors for students to try their best, where online school kept people from even trying.