Distance vs. Hybrid

Josie Keller

Mound Westonka high school students have been distance or hybrid learning since March, 2020. The high school was forced to close due to Governor Walz’s order when the global pandemic threatened our community. Schools across the country were shuttering their doors to make way for e-learning. Little did they know that students would still be learning in this model almost a year later. 

In March of 2020 students and teachers alike thought they’d be back in school by the end of the school year. Seniors were hopeful of celebrating graduation and prom, typical rites of passage. The public would quickly learn that this was not the case. Wearing masks and using hand sanitizer became the new norm and people were told to stay away from crowds by quarantining. 

High school students in Westonka were forced to begin e-learning but by September students were given the option to go hybrid, two days a week. Students were excited to be back in the building for learning but some chose to stay in full e-learning. “I decided to choose full distance because I had a schedule that worked for me that I was used to and wanted to keep.” said by MWHS sophomore, Julia Kolb. Having a routine seems to be one of the reasons kids stayed with distance learning but there were other factors driving that decision. Kolb also went on to share that it fit with her family’s lifestyle. “ I didn’t have to worry about getting to the bus or getting a ride to school. I live outside of town and am not able to walk to school.” 

Full distance learners have other advantages too like doing your work when you want and just during class. “I can eat while I’m in a ZOOM class. I like the freedom to not have to worry about being up on time or choosing what to wear to school that day.”, says Kolb. 

There are downsides to distance learning. The lack of interaction with peers is just one thing. Communication with teachers is almost impossible. It’s as if the teachers forget about the ZOOMers, as they are called by some teachers. 

The debate is still open as to who performs better academically. It depends on the person, some kids thrive and some kids need more discipline and accountability. This year has definitely been a challenge for students, teachers, parents and administrators and the feedback will hopefully shape how school looks going forward. Kolb finished by saying, “I hope that by the time I’m a senior I will be able to have prom and graduation.”