Student Opinions on Virtual School

Chloe Yang ‘23

Since March 13th, all Ridge High School students  have experienced some form of virtual or online learning in one way or another. However, seeing as online school is clearly much more different than in person school, many questions have been raised regarding this year’s virtual platform.


Last March, students were let out of school in favor of online learning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. During this period, the township did not have a pre-planned online curriculum for students. Thus, much of the learning that students did during these few months was self-paced and the curriculum relied heavily on students teaching themselves the material.


However, this year, the administration worked over the summer in order to create a curriculum specifically for a virtual environment, in order to be better prepared for the new circumstances of this school year. Teachers planned the curriculum for this school year around the prospect of online learning. Different online learning platforms, such as playposits, webassigns, and more are being utilized by teachers to aid students during this difficult time. However, a common critique amongst students is that teachers rely too much on these online resources to teach material outside of class time. On the other hand, some students find that learning through these resources works well for them, and they enjoy being able to teach themselves the material easily.


While it’s difficult to please everyone, it seems as though the online experience for most students has been relatively pleasant. For Minaal Kauser ’23, a fully virtual student, online learning has been an overall positive experience. She explains, “I like virtual school because it gives me an opportunity to spend time with my family and also participate in the events I love.” Many students share a similar sentiment. Online learning gives them a well deserved break from the bustle of normal school, where many students find it difficult to balance their classes, clubs, extracurriculars, and family time. 


Another concern deals with the new scheduling system that our district implemented this year. In order to minimize the amount of students at school at once, a cohort system was introduced to split the student body in half. Students in Cohort A are assigned to go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays and students in Cohort B go to school Thursday and Friday. Additionally, students have four classes on A days and four classes on B days, with an extra advisory period on either Monday or Thursday. Overall, some students like the shorter days, but others do not like how classes meet less often.


The length of Wednesdays’ classes also raise some concerns. Because every class meets that day, the school day extends from 8:00 am to 1:50 pm. Shree Manivel ’23, sees both the positives and negatives of this situation, stating that “virtual school has its pros and cons and it’s definitely a totally new environment. Wednesday’s can be long days but it’s nice they start at 8.” Like Shree, many students enjoy online learning because it means they can sleep in a bit longer. For students at Ridge High School, any extra sleep is a benefit.


With a vaccine coming out in the near future, there will inevitably be changes to our learning plan. But for right now, it seems as though most students have had a positive experience with our district’s online learning environment and enjoy the added sleep they can get in before school starts. While there are many advantages that come with online learning, there are still some issues that should be addressed by the district in the future, for example balancing out the length of Wednesday with the other days of the week. However, overall, online learning is a welcome change at Ridge High School.