Opting for Online

Although NASH resumes hybrid learning this week, some students are choosing to extend their remote learning.


photo by Quinn Volpe

Students have the option to continue their remote instruction through December 11th, and many are taking advantage of this choice and learning from home.

Quinn Volpe, Staff Writer

Throughout the short-lived Thanksgiving break, the North Allegheny community anxiously awaited the district’s decision on whether students and teachers would return to hybrid-learning or stay home.  A week later, the decision now rests in the hands of families.

On the evening of Monday, November 30th, the district sent an email to parents to announce that students and staff would return to a hybrid-learning system for the time being.

Even though the district later announced that all NASH students would be remote until December 4th, and the next day that all NAI students would do the same, they decided to provide parents with the choice to extend their children’s remote instruction through December 11th. 

This date was selected seemingly because it offers students the opportunity to quarantine for the two-week time period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In an email sent to parents with the subject “Second Quarter Instruction Update,” under the section titled “Other Situations for Family-Directed Quarantine,” the district included a link to a form for parents who wished to take advantage of the option.

The form simply asked for the student’s first and last name, grade, student ID number, and school. It does not require any specification as to why the parents have made their decision.

The form also noted that students must stay home if they or someone in their household has tested positive for COVID-19. This has been a policy of the district since the beginning of the current school year, along with a requirement of alerting the district of a positive test result.

Although most believe that it is best for students to have this option, one student who asked to remain anonymous believes that teachers have it better at other school districts and that the option to stay home should be given to staff. 

Referring to their parents who are teachers in a district that is fully remote, the anonymous student said, “I think they’re a lot better off than our teachers are right now.” 

Edwin Stover, a junior, believes that the district did not lay out the email in such a way that allowed the option of staying home to be made as clear as possible. 

“It was so hidden in the email. I didn’t even know it was an option,” Stover said. “If I had seen it, I would have considered it earlier.” 

Jackson Neofes, a senior, thinks that the time for quarantine allotted to students on the form should be extended.

“NASH alone has had nearly ten new cases in the past few days, and that is without anyone even being in school for over two weeks,” Neofes said, referring to the December 2nd COVID-19 tracker. “While the quarantine form provided by the district is a safe alternative for students who do not feel safe returning to the building, it should be extended until at least the holiday break.”

Cate Maldia, a sophomore, acknowledges that while the decision by the district to offer this choice was well-intended, they failed to realize that many students are still feeling pressured to go in-person because they are put at a disadvantage in terms of learning and academic opportunities.

“Even though we are able to choose to learn at home if we feel more comfortable this way, there is still pressure to attend school in person,” Maldia explained. “Personally, I feel as though I am missing out on crucial learning opportunities. Even though we are still ‘attending class’ when we choose to stay home, I still feel as though I need to catch up when I return.”

As of now, all NASH and NAI students who did not fill out this form will return to school on December 7th. A section in the email update titled “Reasons We May Move to Remote Learning,” as well as surrounding districts moving to a fully remote learning system, highlights the possibility of a continuation of remote learning for the high school buildings. 

If a family is in any situation that requires their student(s) to stay home, including feeling uncomfortable about going back to school while the number of cases has been relatively high, they are eligible to put this option to use.