Lingering Repercussions of the Online School Year


APEX Learning featured in article

The 2020-2021 online school year posed a challenge for students and teachers across the country for a multitude of reasons as it lacked face-to-face interaction. Some Spring Valley students are now facing repercussions of “flunking” their distance-learning year and are in need of credit retrieval, while some are still trying to bounce back to the normalcy of in-person school. 

“There were some kids that had a hard time engaging online or finding the motivation to do work,” senior counselor Emi Lytle said. “There were a whole bunch of circumstances, and some may not have had their living situation conducive to the online environment.” 

Like in-person school years, classes counted towards students’ credits for graduation and grade point averages. If a student were to perform poorly in a course, the consequences followed throughout the remainder of their education, just like a normal school year. 

“Right now, we have a lot of kids that are in need of credit retrieval. [Some] are a semester behind or missing their [online] grade altogether, ” Lytle said. 

Although some students deal with the need for credit retrieval every school year, there has been an increase in the number of those who need it since the pandemic online year. 

“A lot of kids right now are only getting the minimum requirements to graduate rather than the extra credits because it is a struggle,” Lytle said. “It is worse this year. We used to have most of our kids earn math credit, but we see kids struggling more to get that math credit especially.” 

Though, there are multiple ways for students to raise their grade from this time. Those who failed courses and are credit deficient are automatically assigned to APEX Learning, a digital program that teaches a course to students through notes, assignments and tests, by their counselors. Those who aren’t credit deficient yet wish to raise their grades have the option of attending Burke High School nightly-school, virtually held Monday through Thursday, or following through online Nevada Learning Academy (NVLA). 

Senior Mikayla Contreras is just one of the students facing credit deficiency from a failed course during the pandemic, currently retaking Geometry through APEX to hop back on track to graduate. 

“It was really hard to keep up with the lessons online because there was no 1-1,” Contreras said. “I did try to learn as much as I can, but I wish I didn’t need to retake the class this year. I want to really learn the material, so [APEX] is a little stressful sometimes.” 

Lytle explained the difficulty counselors had to connect and service students through distance-learning. It was hard to track down students who may have needed help or guidance, as phone calls were the only available approach to get a hold of them.

Issues with mental health have also increased for students. With a full school year and a half since distance-learning, correlations between the time have become clearer. 

“We see a lot more need for mental health services for our students,” Lytle said. “People are really struggling from not having that personal interaction they missed out on for a year and half.” 

The “struggle” with attendance has become an increasing issue for students as well. As many students either showed up late to online classes or not show up at all, it has become a “routine” for now in-person school. 

“I still see students struggling with attendance,” senior counselor Corrin Bennion said. “Online threw them through a loop, and some of that stuck and they are not bouncing back.” 

While distance-learning left concerning matters for students and staff to fix, Lytle explains there are more options for students to obtain credits online without the need for pay and a shift in online opportunities state-wide in general. APEX is a great resource for earning credits on a student’s own time, as well as learning content. 

For more content on the “Lingering Repercussions of the Online School Year”: