Elephant in the ZOOM: A deeper look into how students handled the first week WiFi outages

Throughout the first week of school, typically at 10:40 a.m. each day, teachers were not always sure how to handle the frequent loss of internet connection at York. One moment, a teacher would be in the middle of delivering a thoughtful lecture; the next, the teacher was suddenly off the call, and a randomly selected student became the new host. 

Although students were unsure of how to handle the internet crashes, each classroom had its own way of dealing with the situation.

Call of Duty kicks out lesson plans

One of the solutions to this reoccurring issue is video games. One student screen shares the game they are playing and creates a gaming experience for the entire class.

“In Strength Training, this kid started streaming Fortnite when he became the host,” junior Leo Macariola said.

It is not uncommon to see students share the game they are playing with their peers. In many cases, reentering the classroom to see a student streaming will not make for a happy teacher. 

“When [the WiFi] went out yesterday, the person who became the host started screen sharing and playing Tetris,” freshman Reilly Costello said. “And then the teacher came back and got very mad. LOL.”

However, it made for a great way for students to bond throughout the first week of school. Although each student may not be enthusiastic about Algebra AB, like Costello, they will certainly find some kind of joy in a simple online game.

“Well, our WiFi just went out during P.E. and we had to do a workout from home,” sophomore Reese Pavlik said. “Right as he ‘lagged out’, some guy turned on his camera and started playing “Call of Duty: War Zone” to show the entire class.”

Celebration over zoom

Some students search for entertaining and new ways to spend the internet crashes, including a birthday celebration.

“Today, when the WiFi crashed, I was in my math class, and the teacher was kicked out,” senior Haley Brown said. “It was a student’s birthday, so [senior Tessa Olson] became the host and shared her screen. She played ‘Happy Birthday’ while we all sang; it was hilarious.”

A different response to the WiFi crash, but, nonetheless, a productive way to form relationships with new peers.

“It was funny and honestly, one of the best bonding experiences I’ve had with other students over Zoom in my classes,” Olson said. “It was much less awkward than the breakout rooms.” 

An attempt at normalcy

Despite the common stories of hectic internet connection crashes, in many cases, students simply resumed class as normal. In some scenarios, students even share their work related to the course.

“In Drawing 1, these girls started talking in front of the whole class,” senior Caitlin Maguire said. “One girl pulled out her clay walrus and started showing everyone.”

Many students even continued presentations if they were near completion.

“I was presenting in Anatomy and Physiology,” senior Maddie Brown said. “Once my presentation was over, I muted.”

Although the first week of school was filled to the brim with internet connectivity issues for students and teachers alike, it has not stopped students from continuing to learn and enjoy themselves during class. Despite classes not going exactly as teachers planned, the week one goal of bonding was, nevertheless, accomplished.