Students share mixed feelings about return to school building amid drastic changes

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Photo by Daniel Sofer

Sophomore Nick Peng does his English homework in the library as he deals with adjusting to in-person learning.

After over a year of online school, students were finally able to return to the building on Aug. 28. Balancing learning and safety is now a bigger challenge than ever and students have mixed opinions about returning to school with Coronavirus cases on the rise, especially with all of the changes from how schools operated last year.

Wearing masks has definitely been hard, but it ensures that I can learn and stay safe at the same time.”

— Prahlad Shelvapille

One major aspect of returning back to school has been the mandatory wearing of masks. It can sometimes be a hassle, but wearing masks helps prevent massive coronavirus outbreaks inside of the school. “Wearing masks has definitely been hard, but it ensures that I can learn and stay safe at the same time,” junior Prahlad Shelvapille said.

Even with this preventative measure, the school’s population is too large to effectively implement a social distancing requirement in the hallways, which is an added risk to being infected with the Coronavirus while at school. The county has implemented policies to make sure that those who are infected have to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days before they can return back to school.

Another change, especially for those who have never been inside of the school before, is the six minute gap between classes, which is much shorter than the gap during the virtual year. “I like the quicker time between classes. It gives me less of an opportunity to lose the motivation to continue in school and it keeps me moving with purpose throughout the day,” sophomore Jai Ahuja said. 

A new daily homeroom period has also been implemented, which has largely changed the schedule from years’ past. Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays are used for students to catch up on homework or go in for help if they have a pass from another teacher. Tuesdays and Thursdays are used for lessons on topics such as time management and how to stay organized.

A fairly welcome change has been the implementation of free breakfast and dinner being provided during the school year. Students can pick up these meals by heading to either the cafeteria or the Commons.

This year has also presented learning challenges due to missing content during virtual learning because classes, specifically math and foreign language classes, often follow a sequential order and build on information that is meant to be learned in the previous year. “Ever since the school year started, I have gone in for help multiple times whenever I don’t understand something. I have also been vocal with my teachers, letting them know when I don’t understand something that we are supposed to know from last year,” junior Humza Sehbai said.