Students look back on virtual school with mixed feelings


Ella Miller

Infographic for poll

Ella Miller, Writer

Three months after all RCMS students returned to the school building students, students are looking back at last year with mixed feelings on being virtual.

Last school year started on Sept. 8, 2020, with all students virtual in Fairfax County Public Schools. During this time, students stayed safer but some had technical difficulties and a hard time learning from home. On March 16, 2020, hybrid learning started and some students returned to the building while others stayed home.

A few RCMS students were worried, happy, or a bit of both about what was going to happen when going virtual.

Darian Demalteris, a seventh-grader on the Majestics team, said, “I thought I was gonna like it because I did not have to wake up early.

A recent poll with 32 responses showed that 43.8 percent said that they would have rather gone back in person during school and 37.5 percent said they wanted to stay virtual. Some students thought that hybrid was great and liked a lot of things about it.

Ava-Grace Satterfield, seventh-grade, Champions, said, “I went back to hybrid for the last half of the school year and it was a blast! It was amazing seeing all of my classmates again and I didn’t feel as lonely as when I was online, staring at my computer screen, looking at virtual faces. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine how much more awesome last year would’ve been if we had the whole year in-person.”

While in person at school, you could see people face to face and somewhat interact with them. 

Maya Apakupakul, seventh-grader, on the Legacy team,  “I liked seeing my friends again having lunch together or  messing around.” 

One of the benefits to being virtual was that since last year was pretty chaotic, a lot of people were happy to be back in person this year. 

“Last year was chaotic,” said one student who responded to the poll anonymously. “If we went to school half of us at least would have gotten COVID-19. I’m glad we are going this year, but if we went last year, who knows what would have happened.”

There were also good things about both.

“There were some perks to last year too,” another student said. “Sometimes I wanted to come in person like meeting my friends and sometimes I wanted to stay at home and be in my PJs.”

For some, the informality of learning at home was a perk to being virtual.

“When you were in virtual school you could just lie down in bed in your PJ’s and eat breakfast all at the same time,” another student said.

Being virtual could be hard at times, however due to technical difficulties and isolation.

“During the virtual school time period,” Rishitha Mantri said, “I wasn’t able to see many of my friends and get to know them as well as I do now.”

For some people being in person makes it easier to focus. 

“When we had school online,”  said Alexandra Velicu, a seventh-grader on Champions, “I had a hard time focusing and would usually just turn my camera off and do other activities. However, after I got to go back in person I had a much better time and paid more attention.”

Looking back, students and teachers learned to take the bad with the good.

Mrs. Kristden Oliver, a seventh-grade science teacher on the Majestics team, said, “Whatever happened, happened and that somehow we could all come out stronger.”