Distance Learning From Mexico

For senior Lizet Avitia and freshman Erik Figueroa Alvarez, distance learning has allowed for an opportunity do live in Mexico and attend school remotely.

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Annabelle Stuelpe, Reporter

The platform of distance learning has provided a new opportunity for students. Because classes are entirely online and  conducted on Zoom, students can attend classes from anywhere in the world. Some students have chosen to attend class from another town, some another state, and some have travelled to another country. For senior Lizet Avitia and freshman Erik Figueroa Alvarez, the country was Mexico.

Lizet Avitia took distance learning as a time to visit her grandmother, who lives alone, in the city of Durango in the Mexican state of Durango. Initially, Avitia spent two nights in Zacatecas–the city her flight landed in–with other family members. On travelling during COVID-19, the senior did not notice many differences, beside a mask being required at all times in the airport and during the flight. Once in Mexico, Avitia took note of the behaviors and rules surrounding COVID-19. “I can’t say that Mexico is handling COVID-19 any better than the U.S.. There are people who also refuse to wear masks and don’t believe that the virus exists,” Avitia said. “There is outdoor and indoor dining but [they] make sure to space the tables and lines so there is social distancing. They have areas with signs labeled as highly contagious danger zones for covid warning people. In almost every store I went to or restaurant, I had my temperature checked and was given hand sanitizer,” said Avitia. Even in California, a COVID hotspot, people’s temperatures are not always checked to enter a business. However, COVID-19 deniers exist in both countries. Roadblocks have also been put into place in parts of Mexico to limit travel.

Avitia was thrilled to spend time doing school in Mexico. “Attending my online classes from Mexico was so exciting for me. I think it was good for my mental health being somewhere different and not having to be around the smoke and fire weeks we had,” Avitia said. Because she spent two months in Mexico, Avitia had time for a variety of activities. Avitia experienced a cable car which went above the city of Durango, a cafe downtown, the plaza of the city, and spent time at her grandmother’s farm a few hours away. “We ate a lot of food that was really good,” Avitia said. 

Avitia wanted to note the vast differences in online school between the United States and Mexico. “My uncle is a high school teacher, and told me how stressful it is to teach 8 classes online. There are students there who don’t have access to a computer so are forced to learn over their television where classes are broadcasted during different times of the day. Students become less motivated and don’t want to complete assignments,” Avitia said. Some students are assigned school work through the application Whatsapp, where their homework also has to be turned in. If students do not have access to a computer or television, they listen to their classes over a radio. Avitia did not encounter many issues with doing online school from another country. However, for her Art and 3D: Make classes, Avitia needed to pick up certain materials from campus. She was able to go to the papelerías, a stationary and school supplies store, to attain the materials she needed. Avitia plans to visit Mexico again next June, but may go earlier if school continues to be online during the second semester.

Freshman Erik Figueroa Alvarez visited La Zarzamora, Michoacán, México. Figueroa Alvarez did not encounter many difficulties doing online school from Mexico; however, he did have internet connection issues. “The WIFI is really bad since it’s from an antenna. The WIFI doesn’t work when the weather is really bad, like when there are thunderstorms, hard rainy days, and just windy, the WIFI cuts. Also, there is rarely any service for your phone,” says Figueroa Alvarez. The freshman said his mother decided that he should spend distance learning in Mexico, as it is a better living situation. “From where I’m living at right now, it’s a little ranch so you could still go out with friends and have small parties,” Figueroa Alvarez says. When not attending online classes, he plays basketball, goes mountain biking, and sometimes goes for hikes. Figueroa Alvarez will continue doing school from Mexico into the second semester if online school is continued.