Which is Better? Virtual or In-Person School?

Virtual School is the Better Option

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The 2020 school year is looking very different from how we expected. From the rise of COVID-19, to the infestation of murder hornets, to the heavy criticism of our government, and natural disasters, it looks like we are heading in the direction of the Hunger Games. With a virtual option now open for students, due to COVID-19, there is a split opinion about which experience is better. Is in-person class better, or virtual? I, a senior, will give my perspective as a virtual student, while Elias McCall, also a senior, will give his perspective on in-person instruction.

There are many pros and cons to being a virtual student. Some of the pros are I get to wake up at 8:15 AM, make breakfast and coffee, and walk to my desk to get to class instead of my usual 6:45 AM start. Last year, I sometimes didn’t even have time for breakfast. I also save a lot of money. Like most seniors, juniors, and maybe sophomores, my way of transportation is driving myself to school. Gas is expensive and now that I am not driving from Mount Pleasant to North Charleston 5 days a week, I save plenty of money initially meant for gas. Probably the best part about this virtual experience, however, is that I get an extra 30-45 minutes everyday to do school work and college applications instead of driving to and from school. At Academic Magnet, time is money, so any extra minute to study and work on college applications is valuable time. However, there are many cons to being a virtual student. Probably the biggest problem I have is not getting distracted. Because the teachers can only see our face through a screen, it is so easy to get away with doing something else such as homework or studying for another class, playing on our phone, or watching Netflix. As a Magnet Raptor, it is important to remain disciplined, which can be hard if you have the ability to watch Criminal Minds while appearing to be attentive in class. Despite these cons, however, I do believe that we virtual students have the advantage over the in-person students just based on the fact that we can be better rested, have more time for schoolwork, and are able to learn in our most comfortable setting.

[I] believe that virtual school is the better option overall”

— Elias McCall

In order to get the experience of both sides, I interviewed one of our seniors Elias McCall. He says that his morning routine is the same as last year, besides the lighter traffic. However he also says that school is “different this year because everything is a lot more touch and go and changes on a dime, so we have to adapt a lot.” When asked about the pros and cons to coming back to school, he lists more cons than pros. For him, the pro is experiencing social interaction again. However, the heavy cons are the inevitability of another spike, waking up early, and having to wear a mask the whole time. I also asked him if he believes that the in-person students are better off and he explains, “I wouldn’t say better off, because they [the virtual students] don’t have to get up as early, get to leave during focus, and they get to eat whenever they want. I think the sleep aspect is important to education. I get up 2 hours earlier for in-person than I did for virtual.” He concludes with saying he believes that virtual school is the better option overall.

Between the two of us, we agreed that virtual school is the better option for students. With a better sleep schedule, a more comfortable  work setting, and a second corona spike on the rise, we found the virtual option to be more beneficial than the in-person option.