Pandemic brings learning opportunity

Park hits one year anniversary for distance learning


Lilia Gonzalez

Math teacher Ms. Webster meets with her students on Zoom Feb. 11. Distance learning has provided students and teachers with many learning opportunities.

As the one-year anniversary of distance learning approaches, students and teachers such as English teacher Andy Wilkes have learned many lessons from this unprecedented time.

“It’s forced us to look at what’s important, and what is fluff,” Wilkes said. “Not everything that we thought was important before isn’t necessarily important when we pare things away. Stuff that we thought was fluff is actually really vital to students learning.”

March 17 will mark one year since Park began distance learning, a year that has brought unprecedented struggles to students and teachers. Since then, Park has gone through several schedule changes, and students and staff were forced to adjust constantly.

According to sophomore Bailey Turek, in a time of separation, one on one meetings with teachers can prove to be difficult. 

“I rarely ever spoke to my teachers one on one.” Turek said, “It was just so weird to talk to them (online) because I never met them in person.” 

According to sophomore Muna Ambashe, learning during the pandemic has been difficult due to the distance learning model.

“At first it was fine. I was getting A’s in all my classes, but then when the second semester hit, I didn’t do anything for two weeks,” Ambashe said. “That made me realize that there are so many distractions at my house and that I can’t focus on my school work at all.”

Despite all the adversity students faced, the changes made to learning proved to be a silver lining of the pandemic. Turek said she enjoyed the flexible scheduling. 

“The schedule was honestly the best part of distance learning,” Turek said. “It was so much easier to adapt to than expected, it gave all the students plenty of free time to actually get stuff done, and to take much-needed breaks when things get stressful.”

According to Ambashe, breaks on Wednesday are helpful, and she hopes the administration will continue with Wednesday as support day.

“I don’t think we’ll have Wednesdays off come next year, but if the school gave us an option of continuing Wednesdays, I would pick that option with no hesitation,” Ambashe said.

According to Wilkes, students aren’t the only ones who’ve had some positivity come out of the pandemic, as he said he’s enhanced some key traits necessary for teachers.

“Patience, understanding, calmness – maybe I had those before, but I’ve learned them in greater quantity,” Wilkes said.