West Reacts to Remote Learning, Adaptive Pause and Nontraditional Start to Second Semester


By Leila Meseljevic, Staff Writer

On Jan. 1, 2022, students were emailed that Niles West would be going online for two weeks by superintendent Dr. Steven Isoye. The email cited staffing shortages as one of the concerns for returning to second semester, which resulted in the district’s determination to implement remote learning for the weeks of January 3 through 7, and January 10 through 14.

Students have speculated about not going in-person due to other school going online, such as Niles North, and more cases of COVID-19 hitting the area. In addition to the speculation, the email and decision resulted in many students being disappointed, but also glad, to be going remote.

Freshman Alba Ahmeti, for instance, said, “It is tough not being around all of your friends, but it’s sort of relaxing and a nice break from being at school. It is comforting being at home and staying with your family, and I think it is just less stressful in general.”

“Remote learning is okay, but I would rather be going to school so I can actually see mi amigas. Yet, I mean you can sleep in late so I’m not complaining,” freshman Tina Than said.

Although, other students mentioned they were not thrilled about the decision at all.

According to freshman Nahom Moges, “Remote learning is boring, irritating, and I don’t feel like doing any work during class.”

Freshman Vanya Canak agreed, and said, “I don’t enjoy being home because I get distracted, and I fall behind in my classes.”

Despite the effect online learning has towards students, Modern World History teacher John Lee was able to give his two cents about his remote learning experience.

“I think I have mixed emotions about having to teach online. Obviously, I agree with the decision to go online because of the safety concerns and for the school to be able to effectively plan for a return to in-person instruction. However, on the other I am not a huge fan of remote teaching, as many other teacher can attest, because of the difficulties that arise in interacting with students and keeping them engaged. I am both hopefully and nervous to return to school in-person,” Lee said.

English teacher Daniel Quinlan also gave his opinion on remote learning. “It was a bit awkward to go remote for the beginning of the semester, but it was probably the best course of action given the current situation. So many students would have been absent anyway, so this worked out,” Quinlan said.

“I am really glad that our district chose to allow students and staff to work from home for this time. I recognize that remote learning is potentially harder than in person learning but, given the circumstances, I see the wisdom in utilizing it and definitely prefer remote learning over canceling school completely,” math teacher Sarah Wagner said.

There are many opinions that are clearly portrayed having to do with the switch to remote learning. Many cannot wait to be back at Niles West, while others are appreciating their time at home.

As of Jan. 12, 2022, superintendent Dr. Steven Isoye, along with Niles West principal Dr. Karen Ritter and Niles North principal Dr. James Edwards, informed the district that we will be going back to in-person on Jan. 13, three school days earlier than originally planned. The email stated how well students and teachers have adapted to the pause for online learning, as well as the expectations of students.

Freshman Aleks Piljevic had some thoughts on this matter. “I wanna come back and see my friends, and I won’t be getting as distracted as I would be at home. However, I feel more organized and comfortable at home,” Piljevic said.

Senior Grace Bujdei agrees with Piljevic. Bujdei said, “I think the in-person return is a good idea, especially for the seniors who are in their last semester of high school.”

Although, some students disagree with the switch back to in-person.

Freshman Deema Farooq said, “I think we should go back next week, and I think it is unsafe with all the cases rising.”

While student opinions have ranged from disappointment to excitement, the general sentiments stay the same as last year, which for most was spent entirely remote. The plan to return to school on Thursday has not changed. Niles West will only return to an adaptive pause after collaborating with the Skokie Health Department, so those who don’t enjoy remote learning will soon have in-person instruction to look forward to.