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Daniel McCormack describes his typical weekday the same way many remote office workers do: He wakes up anywhere between 6 and 7 a.m. and eats breakfast quickly, relaxes for a bit before hopping on his first Zoom call of the day, at 8:15 a.m. His “office”—his words—is on the floor above his bedroom. Except Daniel isn’t an adult. He’s a seventh-grader at Francis Howell Middle School in Weldon Spring, Missouri, and the office he’s referring to is in his mother’s house. This semester, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his schooling is 100 percent virtual.
With the wisdom of someone much older than twelve, Daniel talks about how he likes working from the comfort of his own home, is happy to have ditched his daily commute, and enjoys saving money on dining out (“I don’t have to pay lunch money,” he says). Although the Wi-Fi sometimes lags, he largely loves virtual learning. A science class for Daniel might involve his teacher leading a lecture and then assigning students to breakout rooms for group activities. His Speech and Drama teacher posts videos for the class to watch on Canvas, a digital learning management platform that’s become …
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