Students and teachers begin school in a virtual world

Today, Sept. 8, was the start of the 2020-21 school year. As the virtual year begins in a new atmosphere, teachers and students are slowly adapting to changes.

Like many first days, today was filled with icebreakers. For several students, turning on the camera or microphone is very nerve wracking. “I was a little nervous to turn my camera on, but once I saw that the whole class was turning theirs on, it was fine,” Isabella Mesfun said.

One struggle of learning virtually is having to sit in front of a computer for hours at a time but remain focused. “I was kind of tired by the end of the school day because I was sitting down for the entire time,” senior Gabby Urbina said. “It is pretty easy to get distracted since I’m at home but hopefully I keep myself busy enough to stay away from any distractions.”

Teachers are facing many challenges under these circumstances. “I had several links that stopped working and my Google Drive at one point was not loading anything,” history teacher Michael Shumaker said. “I think that taking it slow like we are will be helpful as we all get better with virtual learning.”

While things may not be going all according to plan, there are several bright sides to look forward to. “Even though it is not really the same, I was pretty happy to see that I had a lot of my friends in many of my classes,” senior Andrew Pang said. “I really hope that the school year will go back to normal so I can actually see my friends in person.”

Both students and staff are hopeful that the virtual school year is only temporary so that things can get back to the way they were before the pandemic first started. “One thing I have been looking forward to since I was a kid was graduating,” Urbina said. “I’m just trying to focus on what I can control.”

With only one day of distance learning down and many more to go, Urbina, like many others, is trying to make the best of their circumstances. How long these circumstances last, however, remains to be seen.