The high school class of 2020 missed out on many of spring activities including prom, graduation, honors assemblies, senior skip day, after schools transitioned to virtual learning.
The class of 2021 did not lose just half a semester but a year’s worth of activities. Brendan Mumby, senior at Mason High School, said, “I think they [class of 2020] got treated extra special because they were the first ones to experience it, but now that we’r experiencing it, too, it is not as special.”
One thing Mumby was looking forward to was participating in robotics competitions. He has been in the robotics club at Mason High school since he was a freshman.
“It’s super different. We have five people in our giant rooms. We have multiple rooms for it and we have five people code there. It’s just really slow and we can’t even go to competitions to do that,” said Mumby.
In addition to missing staple senior year activities, virtual learning caused some students to struggle academically. During a school board meeting on March 8, Mason High School senior Alex Matthews said, “When we started the year all virtual, I had my worst grades that I had ever had. I even failed a class which I had never dreamed of doing.”
Matthews found it difficult to separate classwork from school work because of virtual learning. He said that virtual learning was one of the hardest things that he has ever done.
“Some days I feel exhausted and mentally drained … Some days I engaged best I could. I started to fall behind and I sought every opportunity to get extra help, but in the end, I failed my class,” said Matthews.
Mumby said more work is being assigned even if it isn’t because of the challenges with virtual learning.
While some schools in Michigan opened classrooms fully for in-person learning, other schools still offer virtual learning of hybrid leaning learning options, despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order encouraging schools to open for in-person learning on March 1.
Mason High School has a unique schedule in which students are assigned two days that they go to school for in-person learning, two days for online learning and another half day of virtual learning.
“There is something about being in school that is mentally helpful to learn. It allows you to focus and put away distractions. Being in school allows teacher to engage [with] you and get to know you, ” Matthews said.