Second Semester: In-Person or Remote?


Photo/Quinn Colburn

State High empties out quickly on one of the last days of the first semester. With 2020 in the rearview mirror, State College Area High School gears up for semester 2 of the 2020-2021 school year.

Quinn Colburn, Staff Writer

2020 has come and gone, and with it the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Now that most first semester classes will be replaced with new ones, students are wondering whether they feel remote learning or in-person learning is the most appropriate for them during a new semester. 

Sophomore Molly Schreiner has been a remote learner since October and has decided to stick with it for the second semester. Schreiner will have two study halls and feels that staying at home will work best for her. However, Schreiner believes that there is the possibility she may change her mind.

“I am taking some harder classes, so if I fail to maintain steady grades or I don’t understand the material while I’m learning remotely, I’ll probably go back to school, but right now I am staying remote,” Schreiner said. 

While Schreiner feels that remote learning is the safest option for her right now, she highlighted a few of the disadvantages to learning from home.

“I think there are [disadvantages] just because [when] there is half learning remotely and half in school, it’s harder to connect with your peers and your teachers,” Schreiner explained. “I think it’s harder, definitely, in some aspects, if  your internet cuts out, or if your computer’s not working that day… you have to figure out another way to get onto your classes and learn virtually.” 

Despite these common struggles that Schreiner and all other remote students have faced and inevitably will face this semester, Schreiner remains confident that her decision to stay remote learning was the right one for her. 

 “I’m kind of nervous, just because there’s a couple harder classes that I’ll be taking,” Schreiner said, “but I’m excited to try new things and meet new teachers.”

While many students are quite comfortable with learning from home, some are itching for a change, like sophomore Casidy Cohagan. Cohagan switched to remote learning in early September, but has now selected the in-person option for her second semester. 

“I’ve decided that I’d like a change of my normal routine,” Cohagan stated. 

While Cohagan has spent the majority of her first semester in remote learning, she has no preference between it and in-person classes. While Cohagan is looking forward to changing things up for her second semester, she commented that she also feels there are some disadvantages to this type of learning. 

“There’s definitely more of a risk going back to school,” Cohagan said, “but I think as long as the school district follows the protocols that they’ve put in place it’ll be fine.” 

On the other hand, sophomore Alex Kononchuk was an in-person learner for the first semester and has selected this option for his second semester as well. However, Kononchuk commented on some drawbacks he experiences as an in-person learner, leaving him somewhat doubtful of his decision. 

“I think that one, it’s less safe, and two, I just think it wears everyone down a little bit,” Kononchuk explained, “because you have to do an entire day of school, and for the past almost two months, we’ve been doing just normal remote.” Kononchuk prefers remote learning, as he finds it easier to get work done and provides him with more free time. 

While Kononchuk is satisfied with his decision to stay in-person right now, he feels there is room for that to change as State High transitions into the second semester. 

Each individual at State High has their own set of needs and preferences when it comes to schooling, especially during times like these. Given the choice between remote and in-person school for their second semester, many students have taken several different aspects of their lives into consideration with it. Whether these are working conditions, safety, or other engagements and activities, students have all put some necessary thought into what option will best benefit them, and are ready for their second semester of the 2020-2021 school year at State High.