Staff Editorial: Move to distance learning justified

More support needed for students to succeed


Ryan Barnett

Students leave school after their final day of hybrid learning. The School Board voted for Park to transition back to distance learning starting Nov. 16.

Although originally planning to increase to 50% capacity Nov. 16, the School Board unanimously voted for Park to return to distance learning starting Nov. 16, in a Nov. 9 meeting.  Park will be going back to the original distance model until it is reevaluated at the Jan. 11 School Board meeting, according to the SLP Communicator. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow throughout Minnesota, the Echo Editorial Board supports the return to distance learning. 

Although the return to distance makes sense due to the record number of 7,559 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 223,581 total confirmed cases from Nov. 15, according the the Minnesota Department of Health, the Editorial Board hopes Park will offer more mental health and academic resources to students during the move back to distance learning. 

For many students, the hardest part of distance learning is having to sit on their computers for seven hours a day. While Park has tried to help students avoid this struggle by offering alternating synchronous and asynchronous classes, many students still end up on their computers for seven hours a day just doing their in class assignments, not even including their homework.

Besides the multitude of possible distractions students face at home, the separation between school and home has also now been taken away for many students who work in their bedrooms all day. This would lead to students struggling to leave the school mindset when they are done with their work for the day. 

While many students were not expecting to like hybrid as they would not be with all of their friends, many students ended up liking it as it allowed for more social interaction than before. After being able to experience hybrid, more students are disappointed in the shift to distance learning than they were at the beginning of the year, as now they know what they are missing.

Even with all of these disadvantages of distance learning, the decision made by the School Board to return to distance learning was the best decision in order to keep all students and staff physically healthy. However, additional academic and mental support is necessary for students’ mental health.