Virtual learning at the start of the pandemic

Virtual students focused in Mr. Stambaugh’s journalism seminar – Jacob Stacey ’21

The time is 8:40 am. The default iPhone alarm rattles countless students out of bed to prepare for their first day of virtual school amid the coronavirus pandemic. What started as an extended spring break turned into a daily routine nobody saw coming.

     8:45 am marked the beginning of the first class of each day for Haverford students. A majority of these students would roll out of bed, open their computers, and sign onto the google meet for class. Some students would not even roll out of bed to attend class. As some students would mute themselves immediately and turn off their cameras to fall back to sleep, others sat there, dazed by the brightness of the screen in the early morning, and waited for the clock to strike 10:00. 

     Following the first period would be when many students got breakfast and officially started their day, as sleeping until the final minutes before class started was more beneficial than a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast time would involve scrolling through social media, catching up on sports news from the previous night, and occasionally watching netflix. 

     11:00 would mark the start of the second class out of three on the day, where after students have eaten and been awake for a few hours, they are usually more attentive. Attentive is a stretch, as many students are still just as lackadaisical as they were during the first class. After sitting through another seventy five minute period, with the computer fan buzzing while the internal pieces of the machine burn, students will sign off of their second google meet of the day and either eat lunch, go back to sleep, or workout, as the window between second and third period is greater than between the first two periods

     After an extensive period of time away from their screens, students come back to their workspace for one final class, trying to find any kind of motivation to sit through another google meet. Despite many teachers’ efforts to change how class works each day, sitting and staring at their 13.3 inch computer screen feels all the same. 

Geordy Holmes ’21 hard at work on his computer during sixth form journalism seminar – Jacob Stacey ’21

     “It was tough to focus. Especially early, when teachers struggled to make an entertaining virtual setting. Learning just wasn’t as effective as being in person,” Sixth Former Ben Fosnocht said.

     Students finally close their computers after a long, boring day of work. Although they are satisfied with the end of classes, many students do not know what to do next with their day. 

     “I just remember creating a routine. I’d have school, then lunch, then I would workout or hit off of a tee in my garage.” 

Ben Fosnocht ’21

     An overwhelming majority of students had a similar schedule to Fosnocht during school days. With nothing else to do and nowhere to go, they were limited to what they could do after school every day. 

     “I would have dinner then do all of my homework and then repeat everything the next day. I think having a routine gave me a sense of normalcy,” Fosnocht said. 

     Normalcy was a goal all students and teachers were trying to achieve at the beginning of the pandemic and even currently. Students would build in schedules throughout the day and create routines that would help power them through an abnormal, difficult year. 

Zach Genther ’21 attempting a lay up in a 57-49 win over Episcopal Academy on February 27, 2021 – Dr. Mike Nance

     “In the beginning of lockdown our neighbors were home from college so we made the most of our time together. After school we would play football or shoot hoops,” Sixth Former Zach Genther said. 

     The beginning of lockdown and virtual school started to give people new ways to think about fun and appreciate the people around them. People adopted new, unordinary ways to enjoy themselves and escape the stress of virtual learning.

     “In this odd time we did a lot of trickshots around the house to consume the rest of our day after class,” Genther said.

Author: Jacob Stacey '21

Jacob Stacey ‘21 is a student in the journalism seminar. He is an avid reader of journalism pieces involving sports, politics, and other student opinions. Stacey works with the admissions office, giving tours to prospective students and families seeking to enroll at Haverford. Stacey is a member of the baseball team and does strength and conditioning with Coach Rosko in the offseason.