What Are West High Students’ Opinions on Remote School?

Autumn Zielke

Due to rising COVID cases, some schools are moving online. During online learning, students complete assignments and take classes remotely. There are two ways for online learning to take place: asynchronously or on Zoom. When students learn asynchronously, they do not attend any classes. Instead, they complete assignments online. When students learn on Zoom, they not only complete virtual assignments but also attend virtual classes. After a long year of online learning last year, I asked West High students for their thoughts about online school. 


Because of rapidly rising Omicron cases, West has temporarily moved back online. Students have a lot of mixed feelings about this. The students I asked all agreed that this is the best course of action for the given situation. One student said, “Considering the fact that there are over 2500 people at West every day, I think it’s the right decision and will keep us all safe, since the county doesn’t have the capacity to test the sheer volume of students in Salt Lake County schools.” Tests are scarce and hospitals aren’t able to take in every person with COVID that needs medical care, so limiting the contact students have at school can help reduce the number of rising COVID cases. A few students also said that even though moving online is the safest option, learning online is harder than learning in person. Additionally, online learning is isolating and often lacks the social aspect of in-person school.


Everyone has had a different experience with online learning. A lot of people, myself included, had a hard time focusing and staying caught up on homework. “[Online learning] was easy to procrastinate and could be boring,” one student said. Because of our access to the internet, being academically dishonest was easier when attending school online. You could find anything within seconds, making procrastination much more tempting. It was difficult to stay motivated and without social interaction, school became less interesting. Additionally, a lot of people didn’t have access to all the materials and resources they needed to succeed in school. This made maintaining good grades very difficult.


Students suggested a lot of things that West High staff could do to make online school more manageable, including “[cutting] out the awkward breakout rooms” and “[finding] more exciting ways to teach, not just lectures.” One student said that “although moving online can be difficult for students, it can be even harder for teachers who have to organize and coordinate that shift in formats.” Teachers also need help adjusting to online learning. 2020 was a great test run, but there are a lot of little things that make it hard to convert to online learning.


Online learning takes a toll on everyone, not just students. Even though it is not the best format for learning, the consensus is that it is the safest option. There are a lot of things that can be improved and fixed to make online learning enjoyable for everyone, but the best thing to do is to be patient and understanding as we deal with these hard times.