Do Students Want to Return Second Semester?


By Emily Chin, Staff Writer

In light of COVID-19, the recent 2020-2021 in person school year has been put on pause. Students will be taking a new approach to learning this year by completing school virtually for the first semester.

Students are quick to answer with a yes for returning back to school next semester although there are challenges they will all have to face.The main challenge that many students claim to have about e-learning is being constantly distracted, especially at home. From phones to crazy families, the beginning of school has been an interesting experience for most people.

Junior Kristina De Lara explained her e-learning and in-person experience through how easily it is to become unengaged with your work. “At home having my phone on me and different people in the house that are just making constant noise is really the biggest problem and distraction. On the other hand, at school distractions are minimized so that students can focus on their work,” De Lara said.

Coming into the new school year, it’s definitely been difficult for students to learn new information. Unlike last year, many students don’t have the basis of their class yet, which worries some students on whether or not they could actually pass this school year. Grades play an important role in the reason students want to return back to school. Not only do students have to worry about grades, but upperclassmen also have to deal with the agonizing stress of ACT/SAT testing and prep.

E-learning does have some positive effects such as, students being able to explore club options from home without any restrictions or time taken up after school.  On Tuesday, August 18, director of student activities, Katie Odell sent out an email to West students about the many club options they are able to get involved with this year.

Junior Samuel Philips claims that “As someone who is in seven plus clubs and is an officer of a couple of those, it is actually much easier to be involved, but the downside with this is that you don’t actually do as much as you used to in your clubs.” This benefits anyone who may be curious to join a club this year, but negatively impacts the students that were already heavily engrossed in their club.

Returning back to school will allow students to socialize with new and former peers/teachers. For many students who have a busy after school schedule, class time is the best way to hang out with friends even when their days are filled. However, Zoom classes make it difficult for some people to socialize with new classmates. In-person social interaction is crucial for a productive and positive school environment.

For incoming freshmen, the loud football games and enthusiastic teachers will not be the only thing missed. For seniors, they will be left thinking about if their prom will be canceled once again, and if graduation will remain online.

“If graduation and prom were canceled, I would be so devastated. As seniors, we’ve waited so long to get to the point where we graduate or prom, which is supposed to be the night of our lives….having them virtually would not be the same as if they were in person,” senior Sarah Bretan said.

Numerous private schools in the Chicagoland area are doing some sort of plan that results in either hybrid or full in-school learning. Regina, Loyola, and Notre Dame are some of the schools to name a few. The biggest question in the air currently is whether Niles West, next semester, will choose to take that risk to go back to normal, or take the safe route and continue e-learning.