Students embrace new challenge of Digital Learning Days amid Coronavirus

For the safety of students and their families in light of the Coronavirus, Jesuit High School Sacramento implemented the Digital Learning Days Protocol on March 13. Since then, students have received online education, an experience that has shifted the dynamic of learning. 

With the addition of Phase 2 of the DLD Protocol, heightened measures have been taken to enhance the at-home learning experience. Google Classroom is predominantly utilized as the main source to receive information where teachers post new material, homework, and assessments based on class schedules. Zoom and Google Meet are used as additional resources for live face-to-face communication and instruction. 

The experience has been a learning curve for students who have found the new reality presents flexibility along with obstacles. Over the last month, students have tackled the nuances of the protocol, making adjustments to their new schedules.

Guidelines for Phase 2 require that students submit work by 9 a.m. on the day of their next class. The deadlines have made students more responsible and accountable for their work, a task that Jacob Pak ’23 has found more helpful rather than intimidating as the home-based schedule has allowed for more freedom.  

“I feel like making my own hours works much better than arranged hours like school,” Jacob said. “Also, deadlines are motivating because you can wake up whenever you want and submit the assignment before the deadline.”  

While the shift disrupts the normal school routine, students have found that the shift has been beneficial to their health and focus. Tommy Contreras ’22 and Robert Lee ’22 describe the positive aspects of having remote learning.  

“With online learning I have been able [to] improve my mental health as well as my physical health,” Tommy said. “I am sleeping more and doing more exercise. I go on runs every day …  I feel like the amount of stress in my daily life has decreased significantly which is amazing!”

“I enjoy the freedom of having full control over my time and working at a pace of my choosing,” Robert said. “Additionally, due to many extracurricular activities being interrupted by quarantine, completing my schoolwork has become even more feasible.” 

Apart from when students are participating in a virtual learning session, the inability to ask immediate questions has been an overwhelming critique of the online educational process. Michael Chambers ’21 explains that the difficulty of the situation is the lack of classroom environment, but commends all the efforts that have been made. 

“[In] some of my classes nothing has really changed, but in others I’m finding the material more difficult than before, due to the lack of class time and one-on-one situations,” Michael said. “The logistics of online schooling are much more difficult than regular school and I applaud [the Jesuit Administration’s] efforts to make it as seamless as possible.”

For seniors, the announcement that digital learning will continue for the remainder of the school year is a less than ideal situation and provides challenges for the conclusion of their studies. 

“The pandemic has taken away everything that seniors should be enjoying this last semester at Jesuit,” said Dean Babb ’20. “[There’s] a lot to process, but I have gotten through it by thinking about the futility of worrying and ‘going with the flow.’ It’s no use to be negative and sulk about what we will miss out on. We should be trying our best to prepare for what’s to come.”  

“Online education is really hard, not in content but in motivation,” Jonathan Fong ’20 said. “Part of education is the discipline of a strong schedule and structure … It is hard to balance school with life, because of the lack of boundaries in both ways.” 

The administrators, the teachers, and the students at Jesuit all hope to return to the campus in the fall. In the meantime, as Digital Learning Days continue, students discovered that engaging in an online education is a welcome distraction to keep them busy and away from the anxiety of COVID-19.