Education hindered amidst pandemic

Despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases due to the introduction of the Omicron variant, Diamond Bar High School has opted to continue with in-person learning, causing many of its quarantined students to switch to remote learning methods.

Because of her parent’s concerns about the pandemic, freshman Tracy Kuo is one of the students who switched to Independent Learning at the beginning of the school year. While she admits that electronics yield many distractions, especially at home, Kuo believes that Independent Learning depends on work ethic and holding yourself accountable.

“I think independent learning is sufficient only for a while,” Kuo said via Instagram. “It can be a good decision when an event in your life happens where you have to take a break or if something like COVID-19 occurs.”

Following the spike in Omicron cases over winter break, junior Emily Hsiao followed a 20-day plan on Google Classroom for Independent Learning during early January. This learning format entails a 20 day-long quarantine period during which time assignments are completed while at home. 

Like Kuo, Hsiao noted that a major drawback of distance learning was the lack of communication with her teachers. Despite her efforts to stay on top of her schoolwork, understanding assignments and content proved to be difficult.

“I don’t think it is sufficient for my education,” she said. “I miss out on lectures and tests. But the work is the same, so sometimes in classes like math, I don’t understand the work because I missed the lesson.”

Additionally, Hsiao noted the toll a lack of social interaction can take on students in quarantine.

“I think it is worse only because I do miss people and I do miss the lectures from teachers,” Hsiao said via text. “What they teach during class I do miss out on, which I don’t like.”

Social aspect aside, sophomore Jasmine Chin emphasized the issue of teachers’ unresponsiveness to students in quarantine. During her period at home, Chin said most teachers were unresponsive to her emails for help which left her at a disadvantage academically compared to her in-person peers.

“Last year’s distance learning was at least easier because at least the teachers were actively communicating with the students,” Chin said

Having experienced both distance and independent learning, Chin said that in-person learning is definitely easier to manage. During her independent learning period, she resorted to relying on friends to assist her with assignments.

“Some teachers gave me absolutely no transition period and I had tests the same week I was back in school,” she said. “Some teachers were really understanding and helped me ease back into regular schooling by actually teaching me the content I missed out on.”