Student perspectives on current learning model


Chloe Combra and Ruby Reimann

After the transition to remote learning took place at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) last spring, students had to adapt to a variety of challenges and disruptions to their learning. As school has remained online this fall, students continue to face some challenges, but are maintaining a healthy perspective for the most part. With a hybrid model proposed by MVRHS to begin November 30th, most students are looking forward to going back to in-person learning — especially freshmen.

“When COVID-19 first hit last spring, our [middle] school didn’t have much of a schedule,” said freshman Emma Burt. “This schedule [up at the high school] feels a lot more regimented.”

The current remote schedule runs from 8 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. with five classes per day and each class meeting three times a week. This is a shift from last spring, when students had two classes per day. Some students say it gives them a better sense of normalcy, as it is similar to the typical school days. 

Others are feeling overwhelmed. “Five classes per day creates a workload that is ‘abysmal,’” said senior Eric Reubens.

Many students feel that teachers and administration have done a good job of handling a very difficult situation, but many also commented that students should have been more involved in the decision-making regarding their remote learning this fall. 

Principal Sara Dingledy conceded that initially there was limited weigh-in by students, but explained that it didn’t seem like the time to democratize it. Input from health and safety and nurses was prioritized. “Now we’re going to get some student feedback on the model,” she said. “A survey was distributed and there will be additional student input on the schedule.” 

In addition to some frustration over not having much of a say, students have struggled to connect with each other and their teachers. 

Freshman Sophie Cutrer said, “I haven’t gotten to see a lot of people, and I’ve become a lot less social.” 

“I haven’t really gotten to know my teachers,” said Emma. “The social aspect gets removed from [class]. Over Zoom you don’t talk to [teachers] before or after class, you just leave when class is over.”

Some students have had the opportunity to attend their classes over Zoom while in the school building, which has allowed them easier access to teachers and additional help. Freshman Shaun Thomas is one of these students. “My experience in the building [with] remote learning has been amazing,” he said. “I’ve gotten to meet my teachers and see my friends.You get more help in the building instead of staying at home, [and] it’s easier to focus in the school.” 

Despite the struggles students are currently facing, there have been positive impacts as a result of remote learning: more time to spend with family and new perspectives on the importance of friendship and community. 

“There’s more time for me to do things that I don’t normally get to do in the day,” said Eric, noting more time to take yoga classes and spend time with his family. “[Remote learning] has let me focus on different areas, especially community service [and] figure out different ways to help the community through this situation.”

“We’ve all been struggling, [but we’ll] come out stronger as a community,” said senior Kaya Seiman. “We need to realize that everyone is hurting and everyone wants to go back to school, but we have to do it safely for everybody.”