Blended or Fully Remote?: Students Reflect on Their Decisions

The Spectator interviewed students about blended versus fully remote learning.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

With students returning to the school building starting on October 1, The Spectator interviewed students about the factors they considered while choosing between blended and fully remote learning.


“I understand why some people might choose blended because they don’t have the proper environment at home and things like that. But I feel like I do, and I just don’t think it’s worth me commuting an hour [there and] an hour back if I don’t see anyone physically, and I personally cannot stay too long with the mask on. I just felt like remote works better for me.” —Faima Safwana, sophomore

“I picked remote learning because for me, it came down to the commute. As someone who lives an hour away from school on a good day, having to come in for virtual classes as late as 12 p.m. would mean commuting at off-peak hours for only two hours of instruction—instruction I could just as easily receive from my bedroom. It just didn’t make sense to put myself through that and waste up to three hours of my day on the subway.” —Elena Hlamenko, senior

“Getting to school in itself is already a safety worry for me, and that’s not even mentioning what’ll happen when we’re in school. I’m worried that pandemic precautions will not be in place to adequately protect the students from COVID. On top of all that, my grandfather only has one lung, so I do have some health concerns.” —Jonah Keller, senior

“I chose remote learning because even with New York’s curve flattening slowly, both my parents and I felt it would be unsafe to return to school. There are just too many things we could be exposed to, both in school and outside of school.” —Fiona Shi, sophomore

“The main reason why I chose remote learning is because I live near my grandparents, and I see them every day. [Because of that,] I don’t want to contract COVID-19 on the subway or at school, [and] a pro of remote learning is that between periods and after school, I have time to spend with my grandparents. We go on walks every day after school, and I have time to socialize with them. I am getting closer with my family since we all stay at home together.” —Benjamin Botnk, junior


“I chose blended, but now, I’m rethinking my decisions […] at first, I didn’t realize that we were all going to be sitting in a lunchroom and just having classes as we would at home. I thought that it would be socially distanced in a classroom with a teacher and just the remote people on the board or a second class for them.” —Shivani Shah, sophomore

“The logistical reason [why I chose blended learning] is I have two brothers and my dad working at home. The WiFi is slow; my brothers are fighting in the background; we can’t hear our calls or have to be really quiet. It’ll be nice to take a break from them and be in my own space. The other reason is I just miss school […] just being able to smile at people you know while we are doing class or saying hi as we leave the building.” —Aki Yamaguchi, senior

“One of the biggest reasons why I chose blended learning is [that] I felt the need to get away from my family. Spending half a year trapped mostly indoors with the same people gets annoying very quickly. Having a reason to go outside fixes that for me. Also, walking to the bus stop every day in the chilly morning was often the only time of the day I could have to myself because it was quiet, and it gave me time to just relax and enjoy the air. Furthermore, going to school every once in a while will give me some sense of normalcy to my life. I haven't been keeping track of the days, and I feel like school has given me a reason to start doing that again.” —Evan Lin, sophomore

“When they originally asked us to make the decision between remote and blended, I felt they hadn’t really explained to us how blended was going to work. I was obviously excited about the prospect of being back in the school building, getting to see my friends, and hopefully meeting my teachers in person […] when I found out that it was going to be learning in pods, and not really learning from a teacher, just doing remote work but in the building, I was pretty annoyed. But I still feel like trying it out, seeing what it’s like to go to school, because we always have the option to opt out.” —Julie Weiner, senior

“The main reason I chose blended was so that I would not become socially awkward and have something to think about other than what’s happening outside my [Z]oom call or my basketball park […] also, I just love walking in the city, and without it, I feel very morose […] I know I can push myself to study way more in school in between periods and during my free periods. It will set me on track for using my free periods to study [for the] SAT or class subjects.” — Ibrahim Cosar, junior