Virtual learning grants students the ability to travel while attending online classes

Junior Ella Mitchell doodles a heart with spray paint on to the Cadillac Ranch in Armarillo, TX. Cadillac Ranch is a public art sculpture that allows anyone to add to the car sculptures.

Traveling during the coronavirus pandemic has become difficult for many. However, some Grady families have taken advantage of the benefit of online school to complete classwork from far away places.

The Mitchell, Ball and Schroeder families have found creative ways to travel and attend online school.

Cross Country

Junior Ella Mitchell’s family traveled cross country through several states, including Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.

Mitchell, who tried new activities and had new experiences, said she is grateful for the opportunity to enrich herself while learning online.

“One of my favorite things that we did was going sandboarding in Utah with my dad,” Mitchell said. “I thought it was going to be a lot like snowboarding, but it was really hard. We had to hike up a lot of sand to go down a very short way. But it was so cool and unique, which made it one of my favorite things to see.”

Throughout her trip, Mitchell visited national parks and passed through several smaller towns such as Amarillo, TX.

“There are a lot of random cool things you wouldn’t expect in small towns,” Mitchell said. “One of my favorites was called Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. You could buy a can of spray paint and doodle whatever you want.”

Traveling through rural areas made it more challenging to access virtual classes.

“The biggest difficulty for online learning was when we were in a town with no service or if there were Internet problems,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes this would go on for hours or a whole day, and it got really complicated when taking tests or quizzes.”

Despite the challenges, Mitchell found similarities between doing school on the road and at her house in Atlanta.

“Doing online school from a different location wasn’t hard at all except for having to wake up earlier because we were in a different time zone,” Mitchell said.

Yellowstone National Park

During the Fall Break in October, freshman Milner Ball and his family traveled to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

“[My parents] thought that it would be a good time to travel since it didn’t matter where I was as long as I was on Zoom; so, they figured we should take advantage of that,” Ball said.

The Ball family hiked several trails and saw many of the National Park’s sights.
“One of my favorite things to see was Yellowstone Grand Canyon,” Ball said. “It had such a variety of colors combined with the sun shining on it made it look really cool.”

Ball notes a few negative aspects of his trip, including some people not following pandemic guidelines.

“It was pitiful,” Ball said. “We wore masks and used hand sanitizer, but I wouldn’t say anyone was doing a good job [following the guidelines].”

Ball had difficulty accessing Zoom class meetings. He found being in close quarters with the rest of his family who were working or attending school challenging.

“It was extremely difficult,” Ball said. “The lack of stable Internet, combined with close spaces, made it really frustrating, and it became a burden.”

Rosemary Beach, Florida

Freshman Delia Schroeder and her family have traveled back and forth to Rosemary Beach, FL. since the spring.

It was announced school would be fully virtual while the Schroeders were visiting the beach for a three-day weekend. They decided to extend their three day stay to 50 days.

During the pandemic, many struggle from limited social interaction. Schroeder, on the other hand, was accompanied by 16 members of her immediate and extended family. She enjoyed doing online school surrounded by other people doing their work.

“My favorite part of the trip was being surrounded by my family members,” Schroeder said. “Two of my cousins are close to my age, and I am very close friends with them and am very lucky I was stuck in a house with two of my best friends.”

Still, the pandemic impacted their trip. Schroeder took many precautions to avoid catching and spreading the coronavirus.

“We no longer went down to the beach; we swam in the pool and did things where we wouldn’t interact with a lot of people,” Schroeder said. “We no longer made multiple trips out of the house and tried to only go grocery store shopping once a week, which is difficult to do with so many people.”

Regardless, her family found ways to have fun while staying isolated.

“With the pandemic, we had to find safe things to do within our 16-person bubble,” Schroeder said. “We started this thing called ‘betting in place. Every night we would have a different event. We played volleyball, dodgeball, baseball and soccer. We made obstacle courses and all kinds of crazy challenges. ”

Like Mitchell and Ball, Schroeder’s Internet connection was sometimes unreliable, especially with numerous people on it at one time. However, she is glad to have had the opportunity to change her environment.

“I feel that not being stuck in my house and working in another location improved my mental health and the quality of my school work,” Schroeder said.