Is Virtual Learning Coming Back?

Oakton High School going back to online school.


Photo courtesy of Thomas Park

Katie Le, Editorial Board

COVID-19 spread to the United States around March 2020. Cases appeared in every state including Virginia, especially in the NOVA area. In mid-March, FCPS decided to close schools down for two weeks after a few teachers and students tested positive for the Coronavirus. Little did they know, this would affect schools for the next year and a half. Students finished the 2019-2020 school year online and went into the following school year virtual as well. However, around the month of March, students were given the option of returning to school for  “Hybrid”

Photo courtesy of Thomas Park

learning, where half of the days were in person learning and the other half was virtual. After over a full year of online schooling, FCPS returned to full time in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, but how long will this last?

After the news of a new variant of COVID-19, the Delta variant, even the Covid cases in Virginia have begun to rise again. According to the Virginia Department of Health, Coronavirus cases have been steadily rising since June. This has not prompted any closing of stores, businesses, schools, or other places, but that does not mean it won’t in the future. Schools are adamant about keeping learning in-person, but this increases the risk of spreading COVID-19. Oakton High School and every other school in Virginia allowed all students to come back full time, making schools at their full capacity. Safety precautions have been taken at school, however, students can still be at risk for the virus. At Oakton, hallways are jammed packed with students, masks are taken off during lunch where students are sitting next to each other, and kids are only sitting three feet apart from each other in classrooms. This all puts kids at a higher risk of COVID-19 as students are not at a safe distance apart from one another. If one student from Oakton High School gets the virus, it can spread to an alarming amount of other students and can lead to the closing of school once again. 

Oakton students were interviewed and asked about how they felt about going back to online learning again. Taylor Richlin (12) said that she wouldn’t want to go back to virtual learning because “it is much harder to focus online than in-person” and that it’s “difficult to be more involved in class”. However, she believes that we won’t go back to online learning because schools are trying hard to stay open. Similarly, Kara Larsen (12) said she didn’t want to go back to online learning because she likes to see her friends at school and prefers in-person learning as well. She also said that “because it’s [her] senior year, [she wants] to finish [her] last year in school”. Lucy Collis (11) was asked about how she felt about returning to virtual learning and she said she “[preferred] going to school in-person because [she] is able to see her friends.” Collis also said that it’s more “difficult to communicate with [her] teachers” virtually because she feels less engaged. Based on the interviews, it seems like Oakton students preferred in-person school and would rather stay away from virtual learning.