Emergency day alternative brings concern

Now that the school is eligible to take e-learning days as opposed to emergency days, there are mixed feelings about the impact they may have on students.

Since this is the first time any school in the state has tried something like this, the introduction to e-learning has left students curious about whether or not they will come to appreciate the new program.

To prepare for e-learning, the school has offered many sources of Internet connection for students who do not already have internet at their home. Even though every student should be able to participate in these days, there are scenarios where excused absences may still be allowed.

Whatever feelings one may have towards the lack of snow days, surely most people would be able to agree that knowing when the last day of school is a full year in advance is beneficial. Without emergency days, the date will likely be set and kept before the school year even starts.

This makes scheduling summer plans a much simpler task than it previously was with the possibility of having to extend the school year to make up for emergency days.

Although we have not yet partaken in an e-learning day, there are already some concerns with the program.

Having a full school day conducted at home over a computer can not compare to the learning experience a student may have with school.

According to an email sent out to all parents by Superintendent Doug Domeracki, it is expected that a student will not be required to do the average school days amount of work in a smaller time frame on their own time.

We are happy that both the superintendent and the state are aware that the workload on an e-learning day should be lesser than that of a school day while still being meaningful and relevant work. However, since it isn’t the expectation that we are to be doing as much work as on a regular day, it raises the question of why it is able to count as one.

According to the same email, e-learning days are preferable to emergency days specifically for two reasons. Seniors do not make up emergency days which means for every emergency day taken, they lose a day of instruction completely. For students in AP classes, the dates of the AP tests and statewide assessments do not change regardless of emergency days, meaning they lose class time needed in preparation to the test.

While e-learning days greatly help this problem, this is only directed to a minority of the student body.

E-learning is a great solution to these problems specifically, but poses a different problem. It is our opinion that a day at home on a computer can not equate to a day in the school building, making them preferable to making up emergency days at the end of the year in the form of a full school day.

At home there is no supervision, no real human interaction, and plenty of distractions.

Without supervision many of the assignments can be easily handled without any real effort or care.

It would be nice to assume that for a gym class at home students would participate in thirty minute solo exercises out of their own good merit with no one to know whether or not they actually did what they said they did (keep in mind that on a snow day they should not even be going outside, limiting them further), but it would also be foolish to assume so.

Without real human interaction students can hardly get a real learning experience.

In a class of 20 or 30 it is the interaction and communication of students that adds to an individual’s understanding and comprehension of material. On a computer at best they can type messages to each other, not have an in depth conversation.

Teachers are not expected to be constantly available throughout the entire e-learning day, which is fair for the teachers, but inconvenient for the students who may require their assistance which could be attained in the school building.

With plenty of distractions students learning on their own becomes harder.

Being in a school building assures that a student is in an environment designed for learning so that they can be focused. Having to do a full school day’s worth of work alone at home makes little sense.

Yes, work given on e-learning days is meant to be an extension of what was taught in the classroom, but if a teacher had plans to start a new lesson on that day and can not do so over the computer then they lose that day.       

However, it must be kept in mind that the e-learning program is being piloted. One way or another, changes to how the system works will be present in the future as we start to see how the program works.

What saves the idea of e-learning right now though is that we can take no more than five e-learning days per year, but even on just these five days, students really are still missing school and teachers are still losing teaching time.

We as students ourselves really can not say that we do not appreciate the fact that with e-learning we wouldn’t have to extend the school year and make up days. E-learning is a good idea that has the ability to help students. All we are saying is that as of right now, there appear to be flaws with the grounds that it is based on.