ARC students ponder potential outcomes for 2021

“I have gotten comfortable with what school looks like now”

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Out goes 2020, in goes 2021. American River College students ponder what may possibly happen in 2021. (Photo via pixabay)

Madison Duong, Staff Writer

Out with the old and in with the new. 2021 is a new year and with the introduction of a new vaccine for the coronavirus, predictions of new opportunities, hopes of normality slowly coming back is something to look forward to this year. 

In 2020, students and teachers all around the world were introduced to online distance learning to take measures in preventing the further spread of the coronavirus. This was a big change that had a huge impact on many, as some had trouble adapting to online learning.

American River College psychology major Carmen Gutierrez says that she got used to distance learning over time. 

“Sitting in front of a laptop for the whole day is something I still struggle with,” Gutierrez said.

“But I’ve been able to manage by putting away all of my distractions, I also find it difficult not being able to ask questions in person.” 

The experience of online learning is different for everybody. Some may prefer in-person classes with a more hands-on experience, while some are completely fine with learning online.

“I have gotten comfortable with what school looks like now and I feel with the other things going on in my life, school being online works better for me,” ARC film major Grecia Ugalde said. 

ARC mathematics professor Sonya Reichel said that she is unsure of when education will begin to be on campus and in person again. 

“As I write this, there is no official word from the district about plans for fall,” Reichel said in an email interview. “I suspect we will have limited in-person offerings in the fall, especially in those areas that are impossible or really hard to do online (for example, training EMTs).”

There are some subjects that were easily transitioned online and can remain being taught online with little to no issues. However, the pandemic has made it more difficult for teachers to give students a more hands-on experience when learning certain subjects that require a more in-person class setting. 

“I suspect many disciplines, like my own, will remain online,” Reichel said “But I’d be very happy to be wrong about that. As with everything for these past months, we’ll just have to wait and see and adjust to whatever comes.”

The coronavirus still continues to have a heavy toll on everyone, not just because people have to move online for work and school, but also when it comes to worrying about one’s health. There may be an end in sight: a vaccine has been developed in order to help prevent coronavirus which many people are open to taking.

“Since this virus caused the deaths of many, I would take the vaccine,” Gutierrez said.  “This deadly virus is still affecting many daily, and I would take any measures to ensure the safety of myself and others.” 

Gutierrez predicts that as the vaccine is being distributed things will slowly start to get back to normal.

“I believe that more people will start going out as well, especially during the summer,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t think it will get better this year, but I do hope that with the vaccines, things will slowly start to progress.” 

The vaccine is a positive prediction many people have in hopes for life to start getting back to normal. However, there are still some people who don’t fully trust the vaccine. 

“I am still debating because I am a bit skeptical on how fast this vaccine took to make,” Ugalde said “I take vaccines and get my flu shot, but those vaccines have been developed with more time so I am not sure if a rushed vaccine is what I want going in my body.” 

Some still consider taking the vaccine a risky decision, especially for a vaccine that is supposed to help with a virus as deadly as COVID-19. 

“I feel like in time if we see good results from those that have taken it already, I will be more convinced and will happily take it,” Ugalde said.

The coronavirus made it difficult for people to do things they did normally before such as travel, attend public events, dine in restaurants, go to school and work in person, and more. There is no official solution to the virus, people will still have to practice social distancing and remain quarantined before the vaccine starts to distribute more and take its proper effect. 

“I’m looking forward to the summer because I’ll have a break from an intense workload and more time to play in and along the river, go hiking, go biking, and just recharge,” Reichel said. “Otherwise, I’m trying not to look too far ahead and instead just focusing on the present moment. I’m kind of boycotting predictions—just trying to take things as they come.”