MORGANTOWN — It’s official: High school students like to sleep late.
That came out in a survey administered to high school students from across the United States and Britain taking part in a digital math competition hosted by Philadelphia-based Social for Industrial and Applied Mathematics last month.
More than 1,000 students responded to the survey, which was asking about thoughts and attitudes on the idea of online learning in the time of COVID.
Specifically, whether respondents thought their schools should keep at least a component of distance education permanent, once the globe emerges from the pandemic.
U.S. students in 11th and 12th grades responded with their sixth-form peers from across England and Wales.
While 67% of respondents on both sides of the pond favored full-time, in person learning, 29% said they wouldn’t mind spending half their time actually in school, with other half online.
Of course, sleep was a factor. The desire for more of it in the morning, that is.
That’s because instruction outside of the classroom also means no scampering to the bus stop or having to allow time for traffic lights on the drive to school – which, of course, means a more amenable coexistence with the snooze alarm.
Such distanced environments, respondents said, do sometimes lend themselves better to reflection-based courses in, say, literature and history, where thoughts can be soundly formulated without the distraction of buddies and general aural noise of the classroom setting.
And this is pandemic time, where, this past December in West Virginia, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson went viral for simply granting her district a snow day.
Jefferson County, which was on remote learning at the time with the state’s 54 other counties, was expecting snow, which didn’t live to its initial forecasts.
Now, with spring beckoning and vaccines abounding, school districts across the country, especially urban districts, continue to grapple with going back under a new shadow of variant strains making their presence known.
And health experts continue to be concerned that those variants will live up to their forecast of bringing in a new surge of COVID – striking more and more young people, this time.
Generally, though, proponents of in-person learning say the aforementioned aural noise is precisely what students need, pandemic or no.
Especially during class discussions, they’ll add, where such chatter, if steered by an actual teacher in front of an actual room, can lead to the inspiration of insights and revelations a student doesn’t always get by staring at a device.
The Philadelphia survey, in many ways, mirrors the one already out there by Monongalia County’s school district.
More than 80% of the families of elementary and middle-schoolers here favored their children going back for in-school learning five days a week.
In contrast about 70% of Mon’s high school students returned.
Roughly 7,500 of Mon’s 12,000 or so students are back, which, Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said, amounts to 60% of the county’s public school population.
With more and more COVID vaccines administered to teachers and others who work with children in the district – plus plans to inoculate students as well – he said he expects greater numbers in their actual classrooms come fall.
“I think we’ll have most of our kids back,” the superintendent said last week.