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Students and Parents Grapple With the Return to the Classroom


Graphic by Mary Guevara

In December 2020, it was announced elementary school students were going back to school. By February, middle school students followed suit. Now, almost a year into the pandemic, high school students are finally getting the opportunity to return to school. Students all over Clark County have been making the decision to either return to school or continue learning remotely.

Mountain View High School senior Caitlin Carrow, who isn’t returning to in-person instruction, described her experience with remote learning as an opportunity for growth.

Senior Caitlin Carrow is finishing out her high school career online.

“It’s taught me to be independent and I’ve learned to teach myself a variety of things based off being online,” Carrow said. 

Carrow has adapted to the continuous push and pull of remote learning, but she said it wasn’t easy in the beginning. 

“It was difficult to maintain motivation as I was working at home and doing assignments on a screen for hours,” Carrow recalled. “It’s easy to get distracted and tired.” 

Many students are left to their own devices when it comes to learning due to a lack of guidance from their schools. They have exhausted their efforts learning the material on their own and combined with endless Zoom calls, students are left feeling unmotivated and frustrated. 

Riley Hull, who attends Hockinson High School and is returning to in-person instruction, has been going to high school online longer than she has in-person. 

“I’m pretty [motivated] on my own and I don’t find it that difficult,” Hull said. “But I definitely know that there’s a lot of things that I’m missing out on.”

Junior Riley Hull is returning to the classroom after being in online high school longer than in-person.

Hull hopes to see the advantages of in-person instruction upon returning to the classroom. She is also excited to experience classroom interactions and the one-on-one attention from teachers that she’s been missing. Hull said that by asking teachers questions over zoom, students get skipped over and can get easily ignored. 

Lacey Tutus is a mother whose three seniors attend Mountain View High School and are not returning to in-person instruction. Tutus said that one of her seniors is considered immunocompromised with severe lung damage and doesn’t have much faith that the transmission of COVID-19 has reduced enough for her children to be safe at school. 

“You know with little kids, you can tell them, ‘keep your mask on, keep your mask on, wash your hands and kids still want to please their teachers,” Tutus said. “Whereas teenagers think that they know everything, and they are not going to follow the rules, they are going to do what they think is right.” 

Tutus is also worried about whether or not her children are going to be prepared for life after graduation. Considering they have been out of school since the middle of junior year, she feels they will have no time to catch up.

“Essentially what they walked out of class knowing in the middle of March in 2020 is what they are going to graduate with and that’s terrifying,” Tutus stated. 

Tutus does not allow her children to attend any gatherings because of the at-risk status of her child and grandmother, who lives at home with them.

The pandemic has blurred the lines between work, school and home. Because of this, Tutus said that all three of her children have been affected mentally and academically. 

The option to continue with remote learning or go back to school allows students and parents to make the best choice for their families. One thing everyone knows for sure is that the effects of the pandemic will remain relevant for years to come. 

For more information about the Evergreen School Districts hybrid or remote click here

For more information about the Vancouver Public School Districts hybrid or remote click here.

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