Younger students prevail despite distance learning

Prasaus Yeager ’22
Middle schoolers have found distance learning to be an overwhelming and stressful.

It’s been nearly seven weeks since classrooms were reduced to Google Meets and Schoology posts. And while distance learning has had a seemingly large impact on high school and college students, one group remains: middle and elementary school students. How are younger students impacted by the new way of learning?

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed school dynamics across the country However, many feel that unlike high schoolers and college students, younger children have been able to overcome the pandemic. 

Kindergarten students are resilient,” Jennifer Giannino, a kindergarten teacher at Long Lots Elementary, said, “I have found they have really stepped up to the challenge of learning and completing work in this new way.

And it’s not just kindergartners that are resilient. 

“[My students] are pretty invincible! Although this is not what I would have chosen, it is what we have and we are all doing the best we can,” Cassandra Carroll, a sixth grade English teacher, said. “If anything, we’ll be stronger and more flexible and adaptable after this experience.”

However, there are still concerns among teachers who are worried about the possibility that their students may fall behind due to the lack of face to face learning . 

“My greatest concern is that since it’s impossible to replicate the amount of live instruction students receive with distant learning, this might hinder their ability to master the curriculum at the same pace,” Mary Ellen Barry, a fifth grade teacher at Greens Farms Elementary, said.

“Kindergarten students are resilient. I have found they have really stepped up to the challenge of learning and completing work in this new way.”

— Jennifer Giannino

Students in middle school have also expressed some of their own concerns about feeling overwhelmed by the work. 

“I’ve definitely been feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the entire situation,” Mia Lewis ’25 said, “so it’s a little bit hard to tackle my workload.”

Other students have expressed puzzlement towards distance learning.

“So far, distance learning has been pretty confusing, [we have] assignments…[in all classes] and [get] constant updates,” Sara DePinho ’25 said. 

Distance learning seems to be causing stress among younger students, but not enough to massively impact their quality of work. Teachers, students and administration are all doing their best to navigate these unprecedented times. 

“We’re all working as a team,” Carroll said, “so I think we are at a good place.”