Online vs. Hybrid: Is it Worth it?

Bryce Young '21, Staff writer

Hello and welcome to another weekly article in the Whittier Miscellany. I’m the author, Bryce Young. Here we are in… my house. Wait. That is not right, is it? 

This Wednesday, Wilmington Friends School opened up their doors a bit earlier than usual for the upper school students at Friends. Almost everyone was there. The problem is, not all of us are actually there. I, along with several other students, am not in person this week or ever. Due to covid-19, a lot of students have opted out of hybrid classes and are exclusively online. Herein lies the problem. WFS preaches for students to take care of themselves and their wellbeing, which is something they are really striving for, this year especially due to circumstances; some of us are logging in and out of Zoom calls all day for classes that everyone else has in person. This not only results in your face being plastered across the smartboard for everyone to see, but it also creates a disconnect between you and your fellow peers. A couple of weeks ago, the Zoom calls during in-person days were not as frequent and they mostly relied on asynchronous work. Which, in my opinion, is more effective. In a way of dealing with stress, personally, I get all my work done as soon as possible. Logging in and out of Zoom calls all day is hard for online exclusive students because you are spending all day in front of a computer screen. On the other hand, Austin Sarker-Young ‘22 brought me a new point to ponder when asked about his preference for online classes; “I prefer Zoom to asynchronous because although Zoom is slow, it might be our best shot at preserving a vague sense of community.”

This is an interesting point as Austin is completely an online student. By speaking of the Zoom calls all online exclusive students have, he reminds us of our Quaker SPICES. Simplicity and community are both becoming hard to maintain in such a new world. The Zoom calls, while continuing to preserve some semblance of community are hard to maintain on a large scale. Mene Ueberall ‘21 who has done both in-person and online during hybrid days says, “When I am in school in person, it makes me more productive … I also notice I use my frees wisely. What I notice is that some teachers are giving more homework than usual which stresses me out.” 

Which is a fine point as it reminds us that people may not feel pressured to do work when at home which is very different when you are going to school and partaking in a structured school. The upcoming shift towards more in-person days could end with WFS leaving some students out in the proverbial cold. Of course, no one has the correct answer. Most of the world is trekking through this the same as we are, unknowing and unsure. All we can do is keep the community together and hope that we can all stay afloat.