Students Return to Campus — Freshmen Feel the Benefits

Starting April 12, students were given the opportunity to return to campus and resume taking classes in-person as part of the hybrid program. Those students returning are allowed to come four days out of the week due to the small percentage that has decided to go back. Wednesday remains an asynchronous day for all students.

“I am very happy that now we get all four days of the week to come to school because I am able to interact with more people and I get to be with all my friends,” freshman Claire Kirk said. 

Being back in person is very important to students in allowing them to interact with their classmates.

“A big difference being back is the social aspect that we normally don’t get at home taking online classes,” freshman Lukas Lizdenis said.

Many students are starting to get back into the routine of things, but for freshmen this is a whole new experience. 

“As an incoming freshman, it honestly wasn’t a major change coming from middle school to high school,” Kirk said. 

Many freshmen in Mrs. Mindicino’s English 1 Honors class returned to school for on-campus learning. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Mindicino)

“COVID-19 played a big role in not having regular high school events such as football games, homecoming, etc. which is what differentiates the environment.”

Freshmen were given an orientation day to get them acclimated to campus allowing them to feel familiar and get comfortable with the school. However, being back on campus means that many protocols and restrictions are in place.

 All students must show their “green screen” at specific entry points to school clearing them of any COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. Students and staff members are required to wear masks at all times both outdoors and indoors.

Social distancing is enforced including in the classrooms where desks with plexiglass shields are placed appropriate distances apart.

“The biggest restriction is not being able to be closer together and having to keep our distance,” Lizdenis said.

Students are not allowed to leave campus until after their last class period of the day and can only return for athletics.

“From the couple days that I have been going back to school in person, I have found it easier for me to focus and learn because on campus I have no outside distractions like my phone or TV,” Kirk said.

Though students are back in the classroom, they are encouraged to bring their own laptops with chargers and any textbooks/books that may be needed. Students are asked to log in on their own devices and to only be looking at teachers’ screens as more of a reference. Most things still remain digital.

Teachers have double the responsibility to teach both the students in the classroom and those who are at home attending class remotely.

“Some teachers have tried to make it easier on the students by giving them less homework or open note tests, but it is a lot harder to learn online,” Lizdenis said. 

For those students who have returned to class, they are able to interact more with the teachers although their assignments remain the same as those of the DLA students at home. While hybrid has its challenges, many students are happy to be back even with restrictions.     

“I am glad that I decided to do a hybrid,” Kirk said. “It is refreshing to be around everyone and being back makes it feel slightly normal again during this hard time.”                                                                                                                                          

There is hope for everyone to return to campus in the fall and resume learning back in the classroom with the normal high school experience.

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