BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, teachers and students have substituted in-person schooling with an alternative framework known as remote learning. With remote learning, students are provided with an option to attend school at home, where education is supported solely through technology. In particular, all communication and teaching between a student and a teacher is executed virtually. 

It is irrefutable that remote learning is a different system of learning, devised in the face of an impending pandemic. Although the changes schools face are conspicuous, the question remains: how are students managing these educational adjustments? 

Students agree that requiring cameras to stay on during class can be difficult. Junior Emily Radick said, “I’m fine with turning on my camera if I have to, but honestly it distracts me. It feels like you have to make eye contact with the camera, but sometimes I focus more on that instead of hearing the lesson. It’s just hard to multitask, managing seeing yourself on camera while trying to learn,” Radick said. 

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Junior Naomi Monaghan agrees with Radick. “I get uncomfortable showing my whole face. I think showing half is okay. It shows that I’m there. It’s harder to concentrate when I’m fully on camera, plus I don’t really have anywhere to position my iPad.” 

With in person learning, the ability to be seen by everyone at all times is impossible. However, with web cameras, everyone in the classroom can see you, in addition you being able to see yourself. Therefore, it is no surprise that students find the cameras distracting. 

In addition to cameras, excessive screen time is another issue concerning students. Governor Livingston students expressed feelings of fatigue, confusion, headaches, body pain, among other complaints, as a result of extended screen time. 

Junior Joe DiCosmo said, “The screen time with school is excessive and makes my eyes hurt. I had to buy new glasses with blue light [blocking] just so I could minimize the headaches I get from it.” 

Other students who have pre-existing conditions, such as headaches, find the addition of increased screen time harder to manage. 

That is the case for junior Eliana Proano, “It’s so hard for me because I have chronic migraines that require me to take breaks from the iPad. It’s not like I can just change what I do like using paper and just not use my iPad during class like a regular pre-COVID school day. Now, if I need to look away from the screen, I’m missing the entire lesson.” 

It is evident that students are facing similar problems during these unparalleled times. Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress are not abnormal given the drastic adjustments students have had to make. In order for students to be successful, they should develop a plan with their parents, teachers, and administrators to get through this new way of learning.