Video: Virus concerns from students around the world

Amy Yu and Kira Sterling

Around the world, students constantly checked their emails and communication platforms for information about their schools’ grading policies, second-semester events, and structure of their online classes after schools shut down due to COVID-19 in March. The Paly Voice checked in with students around the world about the situation of their virtual schooling. 

This documentary features, in order of appearance, high school seniors Jonathan Ma of Parkway West High School in Ballwin, Missouri; Joy Liu of Westview High School in Portland, Oregon; and Matthew Lee of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois, as well as juniors Sofia Gonzalez of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas; Akshra Paimagam of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina; Becky Mager of Shukutoku in Tokyo, Japan; and Sarah Yun of the Seoul International School in Seongnam, South Korea.


School closure (1:41)

Online learning (3:32)

Workload (8:43)

Class difficulty (9:59)

Prior online learning experiences (12:16)

Logistics – technology provided by schools (14:42)

Grading guidelines (18:01)

Pass/fail grading (20:41)

AP testing (25:15)

Impacts on daily schedule (27:34)

Perspectives on online learning (32:39)

Extracurriculars (42:30)

College decision-making (48:15)

Community News (50:01)

The Inception of the Documentary

Amy Yu came up with this idea after hearing from Yun that her school started online classes mid-February. As COVID-19 continued to spread internationally and we began to feel the impacts in our own community, Yu wanted to expand the project and interview many more students around the world.

A couple weeks later, WHO announced the virus a global pandemic. Many schools around the world had closed and moved to remote learning. After recruiting Kira Sterling to join the project, we began interviewing students in the United States and around the world about their experiences. 

The Selection Process

We acknowledge that this pool of interviewees is very limited and only illustrates a more fortunate perspective of the educational experience that students are going through. When undergoing the selection process for our interviewees, we only had access to a handful of students in mainly American school systems. We recognize that many of the students in this documentary are in suburban or urban areas and have regular access to technology and broadband internet, as well as being academically high-achieving students, whose experiences may not reflect those of many who live in rural areas.