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Kaitlin Pollack

It’s no secret that our eight hours of Zoom school greatly surpasses the two hours of government-recommended daily screen time. The way we do things has drastically changed ever since the Covid-19 virus spread in the United States. With increasing cases in March and little knowledge of the virus, it was impractical and unsafe to continue in-person learning. At this time, the new concept of “Zoom school” emerged. This allowed students to continue attending school right from the safety of their own homes. Now, we have more knowledge of the virus, but Covid-19  has not been eradicated. Online school is a common, temporary solution to the ongoing problem of the pandemic, but it’s not always sunshine and butterflies. Let's take a look at how it affects high school students right here in HAFTR. 

We’ve all been stuck at home at one point since the start of the pandemic, but it seems students have very strong opinions about school from home. From a poll conducted among HAFTR students, it was found that 19 out of 20 people prefer in-person schooling over online school. HAFTR students also revealed the common struggles that they faced when stuck at home doing remote learning.  Ninth grade HAFTR student Maya Karasanti explains how one of the hardest parts about being stuck at home was being away from her friends. She also mentions how quarantine “really took a toll on my mental health,” whether it was the lack of social interaction or the overall workload. Studies have shown that when teens “contribute” to their social groups it can help them significantly with improved moods, lowered stress levels, and fewer health problems. Additionally, these interactions give teens a proper understanding of others and a sense of empathy. Since social interaction is so important at this age, being without it can have adverse effects on students.

Students interviewed also mentioned how the different learning environment, workload, and lack of social support affected them. Maya said that when she does remote learning while others are in school, it’s “hard to ask questions” and participate because “there are lots of distractions around the house.” Zoom complications are frequent, and sometimes it’s hard to see the board clearly. 

Tenth-grade student Deborah Becker shares that teachers are not always as understanding when only a few students are at home. She shared personal experiences from a day she was learning from home while school Zooms were not working. This was stressful for her, as she was sometimes forced to teach herself the material from class on top of all her work for that class. Additionally, due to being exposed, Deborah was forced to quarantine multiple times. During these times, she had to take numerous tests. Deborah explained that “it takes a long time to print the papers and get everything you need, and by the time you’re ready to take the test, there’s barely any time left.” 

 Freshman student Michal Mari said that being online with everyone together or just by herself forced her to become more independent in learning the material. All three of these students agreed the workload was more difficult when they were online while other students were in class. When everyone was only online, the students noticed teachers began to take advantage of the “free time” and assign more work.

In addition to the negative mental effects, Zoom also causes problems with students’ physical health. Zoom school is set up with back-to-back classes. This allows little time for teenagers to engage in any sort of physical activity, or even time to get up from their desks as they would in physical school. Ninth grader Abbi Kammerman explains that when learning in person, students get the chance to move around from class to class and have a change in location, even if it's just slight. Abbi says losing this bit of movement is difficult for her when at home. It is recommended that kids 6-17 years old should get at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which should be mostly aerobic. Infrequent exercise is very dangerous and can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone health problems, increased feelings of depression and anxiety, and many more illnesses. With increased work and little movement, Zoom school may be putting some students’ health at risk. 

Even though Zoom school has been effective in limiting the spread of Covid-19, it’s important for teachers and faculty members to look into how it affects students. Teachers should be more understanding, offer extra help, and assign less work with students online. In addition, it's important to put in place an effective schedule that allows students to participate in some form of physical activity. While there is no immediate solution to the problems online school presents, it’s important for us to work towards solutions that can mitigate the negative effects of remote schooling. 


“Tips for Reducing Screen Time, Reduce Screen Time.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2013,

“New York Coronavirus Map and Case Count.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Apr. 2020, 

Forder, Meghan  Lynch. “What Teens Gain When They Contribute to Their Social Groups.” Greater Good, 22 July 2019, 

 “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.”, 2018,

 “Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 Dec. 2020,

Zoom School: A New Threat: Academics
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