The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of American to accept new changes such as working from home, lost jobs, the inability to see family, and much more. School-aged children are also among those whose lives are affected. Students across the country have now switched from traditional schooling to online learning. And Providence students are no different as they have also learned to adapt to their new online academic life.

Three months ago, no one thought they’d be spending the fourth quarter of the school year learning at home. However, despite the compromised environment, 77% of surveyed PA students from grades 6-12 reported they’ve had a fairly positive distance learning experience. While students are missing their regular routines, they have also been adjusting to, and even appreciating some of, the different aspects of virtual school.

Something many students are particularly enjoying is having less structure in their school day. “I definitely like the flexibility of learning at my own pace”, Christopher Hester ‘22 shared. Being able to work at one’s own leisure has definitely been a big plus for some PA students.

Students are finding fun ways to spend their time outside of school. Kira Cmiel ‘23 has been working on painting a sunset.

And even though it’s been a disappointing loss for the seniors, the new learning experience has given them a unique opportunity.  One senior commented “In some ways it’s better because it’s a lot more like college where you get a lot of unstructured time to study on your own and it’s up to you how much you take advantage of that”.

In addition to the flexible schedule built into online school, students have been taking advantage of their extra free time. When many students aren’t “in school”, they use this time to engage in some activities they don’t normally have time for.

“I have been able to make lots of smoothies and try different coffee recipes. I have also been going on walks to a lake nearby and getting fresh air”, Mary McGinty ‘23 mentioned. Other students have reported singing, painting, and reading as their favorite hobbies at the moment.

Home early from spring semesters in college, siblings like alumna Kiara Monette ‘18 and Mae Monette ‘21 sing at home in their free time.

A few extra hours also enables students to spend valuable time with family members that perhaps wouldn’t be as common during the normal school year. Times like these are great for making lasting memories. Shannon Healy ‘26 explained, “I have started to bake a lot more and play board games with my mom”.

This hasn’t been the year everyone’s expected, but it’s but the unanticipated challenges have brought unforeseen positives. While the PA community remains hopeful for regular classes to resume this fall, it’s a good idea for students to use this unusual time well and keep looking on the bright side.

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