Pro: Virtual learning provides school-life balance


Trisha Atluri

Coppell ISD students began virtual learning on March 23 and resumed Aug. 17 with updated grading policies and attendance requirements. The Sidekick advertising and circulation manager Trisha Atluri discusses how increased flexibility provided by remote learning benefits virtual students.

Trisha Atluri, Advertising/Communications Manager

When you’re faced with four assignments daily on top of several projects and tests to study for, it’s hard to stay motivated and get yourself to start any of your work. For many students, the stress of schoolwork and deadlines is immobilizing. 

When school resumed for Coppell ISD students after an extended spring break, virtual learning was mandatory for everyone. Class schedules were flexible, with assignments due at the end of the week and no required Zoom classes. 

Currently, students have the option to attend school in-person or take classes virtually. Virtual learners can access their classwork through district issued devices and Wi-Fi hotspots set up throughout the district. Coppell High School Principal Laura Springer spoke on the importance of equity when classes are split into two groups.

“We should treat both online learners and in-person students as one class,” Springer said. “Just because you’re somewhere different doesn’t mean you can’t be working together and getting to know each other.”

Online classes consist of daily Zoom sessions and mandatory attendance check-ins on Schoology. While students may be accustomed to a rigid bell schedule and teacher supervision, these revised requirements provide the basic structure that high school students need. We have more freedom in the way we learn, and we are able to construct schedules that prioritize urgent tasks. 

“Virtual education has helped me with my anxiety, because now I know what I have to do and when I have to get it done,” CHS junior Dawson Marold said. “I can do my work on a workload basis rather than follow a schedule where I have to go to a certain class for an hour and a half.”

The new structure has allowed us to be more responsible with the way we manage our work, which is beneficial in the long run. In the near future, most students will be in college, where classes are more spread out and students must manage their own schedules.

“If you want to use school hours to work on something other than schoolwork, that’s an option,” CHS junior Devika Kohli said. “That prepares us a lot more for when we create our own schedules. It helps us figure out how to allocate our time and prioritize the most important things.”

While students’ mental states are declining as a result of isolation, the increase in anxiety is more closely linked to pandemic concerns, such as physical health of loved ones, increased uncertainty and sudden school closures.

In fact, the increased flexibility with the new structure has had a positive impact on mental health. With more time in the day to be productive, we also have more time for breaks and self-paced learning.

Additionally, CISD has several resources for students who are struggling during this time, including crisis counselors students can contact when they feel overwhelmed. Springer emails a weekly newsletter, and Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt shares the CISD informed newsletter in order to update the community and maintain a sense of unity for people who feel they are missing out.

“I want to give everyone the opportunity to feel like they’re part of us,” Springer said. “I don’t want anyone to feel they’re separated. We are all one school, one family.”

In order to succeed in an online learning environment, students need to be internally motivated. Motivation is vital to success regardless, so it is important for students to learn this now. Independent learning is key to being a successful virtual student, and it’s also necessary for college students living on their own with flexible schedules.

“Motivation has to come from inside because there’s not always a teacher telling you exactly what you have to do, and it’s harder to ask questions,” Kohli said. “If you have a question, you have to be self motivated about reaching out to your teacher because they won’t reach out to you often. You have to advocate for yourself.”

This concept can also be applied to efforts to maintain relationships through the pandemic. Learning from home allows us the opportunity to reach out to friends from school when we want to. It teaches us to put in the effort to stay in touch when regular connections are lost, which is a challenge we would face after graduation anyway.

We have the resources to succeed as long as we can keep ourselves motivated. Months of virtual learning have been a period of growth for most students, a period where we have learned more about ourselves and the way we learn than ever before. With this knowledge, we can be more successful in our education.


Follow Trisha (@trishatluri) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.