Getting Hit With That New Kid Vibe: The Experience of Virtual Kids in an In-Person School

By: Grace Abraham

“Like, I’m just a kid trying to live through a global pandemic and get my work done.”

You may have noticed at the beginning of the school year that many of your fellow classmates were missing. Well, they weren’t missing, they were enrolled in a fully virtual-learning instruction called Trojan Connect. Trojan Connect provides students with an opportunity to do schooling completely virtual with EdGenuity.

But, the choice to stay in Trojan Connect has to be renewed before the semester is over. And as you may have noticed, there are some new faces sitting in the classroom with you. A lot of the fully virtual students chose to come in person for their second semester. And for many of us, transitions are hard. So the Torch looked into how these students are transitioning from their virtual world to life in person at school. 

Sophomore Casey Fritz was enrolled in the Trojan Connect program for the fall semester of 2020. Going from spending all day with her family to coming back onto a high school campus was a huge shock for her. 

“It’s definitely nice to talk to people that aren’t just your family and it was great to see my friends instead of just texting them. But it’s also kind of a shock going from just talking to your family to being around a 1000 kids,” says Fritz. “It was a shock to switch like that.”

Not only was the amount of kids on campus a surprise, but also classroom atmospheres. At the beginning of any school year, there is a moment that everyone takes to adjust and settle into the classroom and get a feel for things. Fritz wasn’t able to have that adjustment process along with her classmates. Instead, she was adapting to things alone.

“It was definitely like the very big ‘new kid experience’,” says Frutz. “Being a Freshman [last year] I didn’t really go to many places. The school didn’t really communicate well with us and I didn’t know where my classes were. I didn’t even know what lunch I had!”

But Fritz wasn’t the only one. In fact Junior Matthew Jones had similar feelings.

“It is definitely weird to sit in class with a whole bunch of people you don’t know,” Jones says. “There’s a risk with my family, so not wanting to risk anything, we chose to go online last semester. [But after the first semester] my entire family agreed to go in person because of how bad online was.” 

One thing that both students expressively stated was how the online platform EdGenuity, used in Trojan Connect, made learning far more difficult than it should have been. 

“It would crash a lot and it wouldn’t work,” Fritz says. “I mean, there were benefits of it. You got to work at your own pace, but it wasn’t always the best teaching method. Just being at home is not the same as being at school. I know I didn’t really learn as much at home all the time. Virtual taught me to appreciate more about in person”

“I definitely learned more the first 2 weeks of school than I did all of last semester. Definitely 100%,” Jones says. “ I was able to actually ask my teachers in person about something that I didn’t understand and have them respond immediately.”

Not only was learning made easy by the switch to in person, but so was maintaining grades. 

“My grades were differently impacted by EdGenuity’s grading. 100%,” Jones says. “I just took the grade as it is what it is, I shouldn’t have, but I did.”

“EdGenuity would say one thing and Canvas would say another,” Fritz says. “Most of it is computer grading, so if you don’t use key words, your grade would drop.”

After such a struggle with virtual, these students are extremely happy to have come back to in person learning. After spending 6 months in quarantine and then 5 months in virtual learning, both are glad to be out of their homes and spending more time socially with others. Communication is made easy and learning is made easy. 

“We are living through a global pandemic and this is really hard on all of us. We’re just trying to figure this out, and we definitely will.”

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