Online School: Necessary but Damaging


Keegan Jack

With Covid-19 affecting schools nation-wide, BVSD students have felt the impact of online learning, especially during the first month of school.

Online school is suffocating. It is a boring, unengaging schlock, with no purpose other than to take the place of the real school we can’t attend. It’s necessary, yet it does an incredibly poor job of replicating in-person learning. While boring to those who have breezed through high school so far, online learning further damages the mental health of those suffering from mental illnesses. Limited social interaction resulting from COVID-19 already has severe, negative implications for mental health. The reality of staring at a screen for six hours a day while being expected to produce high-quality work deals a further blow to a student’s mental state. For students with a mental illness, these effects are only worsened.      

I set up an anonymous online survey to see students’ opinions on online school. Out of a group of 175 students, 50.3% said that they do not enjoy online school, while 27.4% said that they do. The other 22.3% said that they might. When asked whether they have a mental illness, 62.1% said that they do not, 25.3% said they do , while 12.6% said they might. The overall response to online school is ultimately negative. While it is not certain online school is bad for everybody, it seems that online school is mentally draining.

Mental illness is prevalent in modern society, among high school age kids doubly so. Many who have mental illness struggle due to a lack of social interaction or mental stimulation, whether it’s due to the illness itself or some other factor. Isolating students from their peers, keeping them trapped in a room forced to sit at a computer all day while a teacher drones on about something that’s being tuned out, certainly isn’t the way to help any struggling students.

Senior Elanra Spiritwind says, “Online school is extraordinary. I’m used to it by now… but my focus is definitely harder to work on. The level of attention and concentration I have is not very high, so it’s straightforward for me to get distracted when I don’t have a teacher’s eyes on me. I am more afraid to ask questions in a way, so online has definitely not helped my confidence. I can turn my camera off and mic, unlike being in a classroom in an assigned desk.”

“Online school is less work, but it’s mentally and physically exhausting from having to sit in front of a screen all day. It gets very lonely being at home without many interactions as well,” expressed senior Nathan Lee. 

While students seem to be getting more used to online school, there is no fix because online school cannot be as socially engaging and interactive as a normal school. After all, there is no good learning space for the students. Kids are constantly urged to get outside and off computers and screens, but now it seems they have no choice. Teachers are doing their best to make online schooling work, which is evident in the courses they’ve set up and the adaptations they make so that online classes can work. But that doesn’t change the reality that online school is extremely stressful while also mundane beyond measure. For many, online school is and will continue to be a massive struggle that isolates and damages while teaching little.