News from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla.

Point-Counterpoint: E-Learning or Face-to-Face?

September 11, 2020

E-Learning is the way to go


This summer, families in Hillsborough County were asked “would you like your child to return to school?” Instead I read it as “would you like to have your child bring home a deadly virus?” After a very short discussion with my mother, I proudly chose e-learning. 

I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy being around my friends, of course I do, but I had to think of the other people in my life, the people that work that is. My brother works for a Warehouse and if he gave COVID to all the other employees, you could go ahead and tell your mother her new Whirlpool fridge is going to have to wait. 

According to the National Womens Health Network, COVID can become particularly fatal to those ages 80 and older.  This means some teachers are at risk. Teachers have also voiced their concerns that they would like to teach from the comfort of their home. Based on the information provided, Florida has over 600,000 cases of Coronavirus infections, but don’t worry we aren’t the number one state. California quickly took that spot away from us, now we’re second. All over social media I see people having huge parties with not one mask in sight. With that knowledge, the fact that school still opened confuses me because if the threat of the state cutting the amount of money they give the schools scares the school board so much, do the lives of their students even matter? 

 I have to admit my stress levels have decreased since I stopped leaving my house for work, when I did have a job it was toward the beginning of the whole pandemic so not everyone in the drive through would wear masks. I used to work at McDonalds and they really didn’t take the whole pandemic seriously, until recently. I had to bring my own hand sanitizer and other employees would ask to use it because they didn’t have any in the store. If an employee wanted to keep their hands clean, they would have to go all the way to the kitchen just to wash their hands, that would take longer and could cause things to get slower. I really couldn’t voice my opinion because what could I do? I’m surely not going to buy hand sanitizer for every employee.

 Staying in my home since April has made the whole “coronacation” enjoyable because I’ve gotten time to myself; I go from Netflix to YouTube to Tiktok all day every day. Im living my best life at home honestly and sometimes I even forget that there’s a global pandemic happening on the other side of my door.  


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Face-to-Face can’t be beat


With coronavirus cases in Florida and every other part of the United States, students faced with the question of whether to return to school brick and mortar or continue their learning online.  

Despite the original decision of doing the first four weeks of school online, the district has instead opted to do the first week of school online, and the rest of the semester will be in person, unless students chose otherwise. Myself and many others have chosen to take the risk, and return to campus. 

Many students have been quarantined in their houses for months, contact with friends and family being limited. Going to school face-to-face will allow for them to socialize with their friends past the cell phone screen, in a safe manner. When in a classroom, students are able to actively engage with one another as well as the teacher. At home, students will just sit and stare at their computer all day. 

To combat the concerns for proper social distancing, masks are mandatory while on campus and there are rules in place to socially distance in the halls, such as making sure you exit to the right of classrooms and having a clear south and north movement in the halls. On top of that, most classroom desks are socially distanced, along with the seats in the cafeteria. Seating charts will be made for every class, so if there is a case, then contact tracing can happen to alert those who could’ve been in contact with the virus. Contact between students and teachers will also be limited. 

Forcing all students to do e-learning ignores the students with limited access to technology or those with household environments that make it difficult to focus during class. With a bad environment and unstable internet connection, students are at a disadvantage compared to their peers. At Hillsborough High School alone, the school gave out an estimated 400 laptops to students who needed them. At the end of summer they received approximately 200 of those laptops back, before redistributing them back out at the start of this year.  

Face-to-face learning isn’t as daunting as it’s being made out to be. With the school following guidelines on how to keep halls and classes as socially distant as possible and mandatory masks, brick and mortar is the best way back; it doesn’t dismiss students with technological issues and allows students to ensure that they’re being actively engaged during class.   

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