By Deke Farrow, The Modesto Bee, November 28, 2020
Preston Lee and Melissa Mullings, both juniors at Gregori High School, had similar experiences when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to begin distance learning. Logging into school to study from home just wasn’t working for them. Easily distracted and lacking the structure of a traditional school day, they pretty much gave up on learning and saw their grades plummet, they said in phone interviews last week.
Early on, Melissa realized that she wasn’t grasping information delivered remotely. She needs face-to-face instruction in a classroom setting, she said. So Melissa began signing in but leaving her computer. “I’d just go somewhere else or go to sleep, or not focus. ... And that caused my grades to go down a lot,” she said. Prior to distance learning, her marks included A’s and B’s, Melissa said, but they fell to all F’s with distance learning.
Preston said that pre-pandemic, he was doing pretty well in school, by his own standards. “My grades were a lot better than they were ever in middle school. And also, I was on the basketball team, and that was some of the most fun I’ve had.”