The disparities between online and in-person health


Photo by Josephine Meriot

Health teacher Lorraine Goldstein assists her students with an in-class assignment. While in-person assignments are fairly low-stress, the work level differs for online health class.

Health classes are a necessary graduation credit for Montgomery County Public School students. The 0.5 credit needed, however, poses a challenge for some students, who would have to take one semester of another class in order to fit their in-person health class into their schedules.

This is why most students decide to take health classes virtually. MCPS offers virtual health classes as well as tech credits, with no tuition cost.

While the in-person classes take a semester to complete, online classes are 7 weeks long, with one hour and a half long class a week and assignments due almost every single day. Some students are feeling overwhelmed by these additions to their already immense workload.

Taking online health is a time commitment. It requires you to know how to make time for all your in person classes, extracurriculars, and an extra online class as well… The workload is more than I actually anticipated. I spend at least an hour every day doing my work for health in addition to the weekly calls that we have online for an hour and a half that are mandatory,” senior Alesia Vazquez said.

Students also find it difficult to focus on a screen for a prolonged period of time. 

“It’s [online health class] hard on my eyes because I get stressed when I look at the computer for too long…it feels weird because I get PTSD from last year’s virtual school anytime I go near an online assignment. We have a quiz every week… I think it [in-person health] would be easier because I enjoy hands-on learning more,” freshman Adam Wang said.

Many students on the other hand have no other option but to succumb to taking the semester-long, in-person health class. While faced with the annoyance of ‘wasting’ a semester taking in-person health, students have the luxury of not getting nearly as much work, thus not having to exert as much time or effort into the class. 

“We barely have any assignments, and the ones that we do have don’t take much time at all. It is definitely an easy break in my otherwise difficult schedule,” junior Alex Lewin-Knauer said. 

As if the limited workflow wasn’t enough to make the class a breeze, the class structure itself provides a much-needed ‘break’ in the usual intensity of a rigorous class schedule. 

“Every day, I treat the class like a study hall period to catch up on my other work since the actual class doesn’t require much effort,” Lewin-Knauer said. 

Each approach to fulfilling the MCPS mandated health credit is presented with its own benefits and drawbacks which can further impact the class experience. The decision comes down to what is better: more work and less time, or more time and less work?