In person school has been in session for 4 months, but have we forgotten about the virtual program?

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Kaitlyn Valle

Oakdale High Schools virtual learning lab is where students of the virtual-in-school go for their virtual course

Kaitlyn Valle, Writer

After school was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March of 2020, online learning was on the rise considering many counties resorted to virtual learning. Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) adapted to this by making the decision to operate classes over Google Meet. Once the question arose as to if we would return to school in Fall 2021, FCPS established students and staff could opt to return to in person school 5 days a week. 

 

In August many schools all over FCPS were filled with excitement from students and faculty to finally be back in school. However, that was not the only option for students. After the pandemic, the Board Of Education (BOE)  rethought their options of how they provided education. They choose to offer a “Virtual Blended Program.” 

 

One of the programs, FCVS VIS (Virtual-in-School) gives students an opportunity to take courses virtually, whether it’s a class they can’t fit in their schedule or their school doesn’t offer. An evident example of this is the Latin course. Although Latin is not offered in person at Oakdale High School, students are still given a chance to partake in this course. 

 

If students opted to take virtual school full time compared to the virtual-in-school, they are given assignments to do, and  are also required to meet with their teachers. 

 

Freshman Sabrina Domingues explained the requirements, “For virtual learning I’ll go on a specific website that FCPS gave me to go onto, and I have two classes on that website and they will give me all my assignments that I need to do.“ 

 

“For virtual learning I’ll go on a specific website that FCPS gave me to go onto, and I have two classes on that website and they will give me all my assignments that I need to do.“ ”

— Freshman Sabrina Domingues

 

Domingues then explains her strategy for virtual learning saying: ”Personally, I set a certain time of the day that I do my assignments.”

 

While many students struggled with online learning, a portion of students benefited from online learning. Latin 3 student and a sophomore at Oakdale, Janis Vangchhia noted a benefit of taking a virtual course: “You go at your own pace, so you can prioritize your other classes or extracurriculars.” 

 

Frederick County Virtual Schools (FCVS) Latin teacher, Celia Hartman, expressed similar sentiment: “I have experienced lots of students benefiting from this learning format. Many students remark that they love the one-on-one work sessions because they can get individualized help.” 

 

She also includes, “Other students have told me that they enjoy working at their own pace and not having to wait to move on to a new topic.”

 

However, Vangchhia also mentioned the downsides to online learning explaining how having a mindset of “I can do it at home” makes it harder to balance the workload out .

 

“To be honest, it makes me procrastinate, so with that mindset I procrastinate and sometimes I’m either two weeks late on work or three weeks ahead.”

 

Despite students facing procrastination, virtual learning still allows for students to take more courses or continue to stay learning in a fully virtual environment. The Frederick County Virtual program has had a successful outcome, leading the FCPS to start preparing for next year. 

 

Vangchhia concludes with: “If you like working at your own pace, I highly recommend the program”