Logged On: How Mt. A’s students felt about the return to online classes

Although things were looking up last semester with the return to in-person classes, albeit with restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting learning at Mt. A. This became clear when classes went back online after the winter break in response to increasing case numbers. Mt. A students were initially meant to return to classes in-person January 24; now, in-person classes are set to resume February 7. Reactions to this decision varied from person to person: some were disappointed, some were relieved, some were worried.
Each student had their own unique reasons for their point of view. Desiree Worall-Banger, a second year student, said that “in all honesty, I was kind of glad. Not only was I relieved to hear the news because of the growing cases of Covid, but because it meant I could put all my focus on my classes rather than my anxiety.” She said that her anxiety, made worse by the pandemic, can make in-person classes difficult for her, causing her to miss information. Online, however, she finds that her anxiety is no longer an issue.
Paige Piché, a classics major in her second year, did not have positive feelings towards the change. She noted that “my reaction was disappointment as I learn better in an in person setting. I knew that I would have to adapt to the changes and that it would definitely affect my education.”
Lillian Reynolds, a first-year student, felt uncertain about the news. “I was worried the whole semester might be online, and I was uncertain if I could spend all that time at home with my parents,” she said.
As a result of classes being online for the first part of the semester, many students living in Sackville for the school year that had returned home for the break had to decide whether to return or take their classes from home. Some students, such as Worall-Banger and Piché, decided to return to Sackville as previously planned in order to return to a more structured academic environment. Worall-Banger also cited the fact that she has a better internet connection on campus than she does at home as a reason for her return.
Similarly, Piché noted that, as she is on the Mt. A Varsity Swim Team, she thought that she would have to return for practice, although that was canceled as well. She also mentioned that her housemates’ return to campus motivated her to do the same. Reynolds, on the other hand, decided to remain home for health reasons and was able to see more of her family as a result.
Online classes, although certainly safer in terms of preventing the spread of Covid-19, are not the same as in-person classes. Students feel differently about them as a result of differing situations and learning styles. Reynolds said that “the biggest difficulty in doing online classes I find is ordering myself to do work for classes and sticking to it without slacking.”
Piché experienced similar difficulties with online classes, stating: “I am not as focused, I cannot take in the information as well, and I find that the professors are not as invested in the teaching.” She also noted that she finds the two dead languages courses that she is taking particularly difficult to do online.
Worall-Banger, however, finds that online classes give her better control over her studies as she simultaneously works on a Graphic Design degree from the Toronto Film School. She explained that she does miss being able to go to the library to study.
The switch to online classes for the beginning of the semester was one that affected everyone differently. For some it was a necessary evil while others were able to find the good in it. With so many different people affected by the changes caused by COVID-19 at Mt. A, the student body has a diverse range of opinions and reactions about and to those changes

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