Screams at screens


Photo by Ava Thornely

Bridger Thompson looks at his screen during online learning with his blue light glasses.

From Tuesday through Friday, starting at 8:05 A.M., Aspen High School students log onto Zoom or Google Meet for a 7 hour school day. Students are staring at a screen for all except two of those hours for lunch break. Students are asked to act as if they are in regular school; this includes cameras on, and wearing appropriate clothing.
After three weeks in school, students are beginning to see side effects of being on the screen for so long. These include being drained/tired and having bad headaches. After school students are on screens even more because of homework. This screen time is making it hard for some students to stay motivated and on top of their work because they have to rest and restart their brain.
AHS senior Lyida Styslinger finds it tedious to be on the screen. Online learning has been especially difficult while taking her theater and choir classes.
“I think it should be like how online school was in the spring where we had to do our assignments on our own and then submit them to Google Classroom later. Personally, I think it’s a waste of time to go on Zoom everyday when I could just get the work done on my own then be done.” Styslinger said
Last spring online school consisted of optional office hours, teachers were flexible, and some forgot to even take attendance. Now, kids are required to have their camera on and come to classes everyday on time.
An AHS freshman, Bridger Thompson, feels that classes are too long.
“Each class be shortened to 60 minutes, like the online learning plan intended at the beginning of the year, instead of 75. It is really hard to stay focused after being on screens all day,” Thompson said.
The two hour lunch break is a time to regroup and step away from screens or even go outside. However, some students use this time to finish up homework, similar to how people would stay in for SAC during lunch. These students either have overwhelming amounts of homework or have after school activities that would cause them to stay up late finishing homework. This is why AHS junior Bella Haneman appreciates the five minute breaks.
“I like when teachers give us breaks during the long classes; they will either separate us into individual breakout rooms or even let us log off and join back for a reflection before class ends,” Haneman said.
Students are finding specific classes extra challenging in an online format, such as math, because it can be hard to see the teachers’ work, history because there can be lectures or discussion that can be tedious, and choir because the computer can lag or be choppy. Students are overcoming online challenges in their own ways, finding what works best for them. This includes putting their phones across the room, wearing blue light glasses, emailing teachers about concerns, and sitting at a desk.
Thompson, Haneman, and Styslinger all agree that teachers are trying their best and when they post on Google Classroom and email reminders, it is much appreciated.