As of mid March, it has been a year since the initial lockdown of schools due to the pandemic, and some students have been able to make the long-awaited return to school. After returning from spring break, students have returned to be on campus four days a week to finish up the semester. Having the entire school year remote up until recently, students and teachers have had to adjust to COVID-safe precautions at school, as well as being able to return back to a “normal” end of the school year.
Students and staff have had to take certain safety precautions in order to maintain a healthy and safe learning environment at school. This includes keeping a 6-foot distance between peers and wearing masks at all times. Biology teacher Shealyn Mathews explained that these safety measures make the campus safe enough for students to return to school.
“We have air filters in classrooms, everyone uses masks, smaller class sizes to enable social distancing and most people are in a low-risk demographic,” Mathews said. “Students and staff are doing an amazing job keeping all of us safe by following the rules.”
Another concern pushing students to return to campus was being able to maintain a connection between both students and their teachers and students and their classmates.
“It is easier to create a classroom community and to explain things in-person than through a screen with glitches and delays,” Mathews said. “I do think the best thing about in-person learning is that students are getting back to having the social part of school and learning with their peers.”
Some teachers would’ve preferred staying remote until next school year due to being used to a fully remote class and having to adapt to hybrid learning and the potential problems that come with it.
“I was of the mindset that it had to be ‘all or nothing’ to make this work,” Geometry and Calculus teacher Jordan Merkin said. “I personally would have wanted to stay remote until we were able to make a full return because there are serious challenges with teaching in a hybrid style.”
Others are happy to be back on campus where they can return to a school environment similar to the one pre-COVID. “I am thrilled to be back in the classroom where I can work with students to inspire them to learn and see their growth,” Mathews said. “Being in a classroom with laughter and side conversations while conducting projects and collaborative learning is what I love about being a teacher.”