Students ‘Zoom’ Into the New School Year


Photo Courtesy of The Daily Northwestern

Since the start of school on September 16th, Mount Greylock students have been participating in fully remote learning. The goal was to have students do a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning so that they wouldn’t have to stare at their computer screens for hours and hours each day. However, most students still tend to have upwards of six 45 minute Zoom classes each day. 

Drawbacks to looking at a screen for an extended period of time include headaches, eyesight problems, and physical inactivity.  

“My head hurts at the end of every single day from staring at my computer for so long. It’s absolutely ridiculous to have us on our computers from 7:45 to 2:25 with only an hour break, and it’s definitely not good for our eyes and head,” said senior Victoria Melkonyan. 

In the past couple of years, Mount Greylock’s efforts to go paperless has resulted in more time online, but Zoom has made this problem significantly worse.  

“Absolutely I spend too much time online because of Zoom. I’m always on my computer doing homework, emailing teachers, or on my phone checking grades and assignments.”  said junior Maya Niemeyer. “It’s gotten bad enough that I had to order blue light blocking glasses because the amount of time spent looking at a screen gives me headaches.” 

Other students have mentioned that some classes are better than others when it comes to time spent online. 

“I think that when classes run full length or even a couple minutes over, it definitely feels like I’m on Zoom for much too long. But, it’s really nice when classes let out a little early just to give that small amount of extra time offline. The wellness Zoom is nice because we just check-in and then we’re let out early to do our activity, or even take it as free time if we need,” said senior Elizabeth Dupras. 

In wellness class, students have the option to do their activities at a different time during the day. This allows them to use the class time as a study period if they need, or to just take a  break from being online. Other classes only have Zooms four days a week, using the fifth day to simply check-in and then work on assignments for that class offline. 

Some, though, have found that online school works better for them than being physically in school.

“It’s so much easier to manage time when we’re all just at home,” said a student. “It’s just easier to get things done.”

“If the decision were up to me,” Niemeyer said, “I would probably do what the school is planning to do in a few weeks: send back the kids who feel comfortable and whose parents feel comfortable in a hybrid model and then take it from there with the hope of going completely in person as soon as it’s safe.”

Although the majority of students plan to go hybrid when the school reopens, some students feel more comfortable staying fully online. A student mentioned having a parent who is high-risk and has decided to stay online when the school goes hybrid for the safety of their parent. 

However, students are more or less excited to go back just to get some in-person social interaction. 

“I think COVID has shown us how hard it is to be isolated from people for such an extended period of time, and that if it was safe most people would want to go back to fully in-person school as opposed to online or a weird hybrid model, but at least we’re all in the same boat,” Niemeyer said. 

“Students need school, and definitely need to socialize and see their friends. As a senior, I realize I might be a little biased towards going back to school because I want my senior year to be as normal as possible, but I think the school is doing a pretty good job of things right now especially with sports,” said Dupras. 

While Zoom classes have brought their challenges, students are looking forward to beginning the hybrid model next week.