How do Students Feel About In-Person Learning?

Edwin Wu

On December 31, 2021, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) superintendent, Dr. Michael Martirano, made an announcement regarding in-person learning and addressed some concerns that people had about the in-person learning environment. High school students Surabhi Shastry and Shruthe Yoagentharan have different feelings regarding the way in which the county has gone about schooling. 

When asked about Shastry’s feelings towards the recent announcements made by the superintendent, she stated that the decisions do not entirely reflect the student’s perspective and claimed that in-person learning is putting students and herself at risk from the COVID-19 virus. 

“I feel that this decision is not good for all the students at Howard county because some students do not have proper access to safety measures to ensure that they are safe from Covid… It impacts me because I am putting my life in danger and I could obtain long-term effects of Covid-19 merely to get an education,” said Shastry. 

Shastry feels that HCPSS is not taking enough precautions to keep students safe as many protocols that are put out are optional, such as the N-95 masks that were recently given to HCPSS students, but not enforced.

When asked about the pros and cons of in-person learning compared to online learning, she believes that online learning provides students with greater flexibility with assignments and overall less pressure. As for in-person learning, she believes that it provides students with increased participation, thus understanding the material to a greater extent.

“For in-person learning, students are more engaged in class as the teacher is monitoring every student to make sure that their attention is on the material rather than other distractions,” Shastry shared. 

“I think online learning provides students with a safe learning aspm=atmosphere as they do not have to be in contact with students that may have covid, and they do not have to worry about their safety while learning,” Shastry noted as well. 

Yoagentharan shares a similar view as Shastry, also believing that the recent announcements made by the superintendent should be changed. 

“[Dr. Martirano] should be focused on the students’ well-being, as we wouldn’t even be able to go in-person in the first place if we were all out from Covid, which is becoming a more prominent problem with every passing day,” said Yongentharan. 

As for the measures that HCPSS is taking to ensure students are safe, she believes that additional protocols should be implemented like mandatory sanitizing and keeping surrounding areas clean. 

“Some don’t necessarily follow those sanitary steps, so I think HCPSS should be a bit more strict with their sanitary measures,” said Yoagentharan. 

When comparing the values of virtual learning and in-person learning, she believes that in-person learning fosters a more interactive learning environment; however, online learning prioritizes student health. 

Yoagentharan noted, “In-person learning does provide a more “hands-on” learning environment … Online learning ensures our well-being a bit more since we aren’t surrounded by people who might unknowingly be carrying Covid.”


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