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  • Ellie Anderson, reporter

Returning Back to School In Person

On Jan 25, the start of the second semester, kids who chose face-to-face for the blended onsite learning model got to go back to school for the first time in almost a year. Going back to school was a huge shift for everyone, especially with the chaotic unknown outcomes that last school year and this school year have presented.

Students with the last name A-L went back on Monday and Tuesday and M-Z attend Thursday and Friday to avoid a mass amount of people in the hallway. With the hallway marked with arrows on where to walk and the stairs being labeled as only going up or only going down, the school was prepared for students to come back.

With the amount of students who decided to stay home and with only half of the alphabet coming back, the once crowded hallways that East High is used to, are now very empty. Passing periods are cut short by two minutes which means that getting to class has to be done quickly and efficiently.

Due to the small amount of kids back in the building, the amount of students physically sitting in the classroom reflects that. Most classes have an average of four to six kids, but many classes also have one or two. These numbers make it easier for teachers to socially distance their students, but at the same time it can feel awkward and quiet with limited people in the room.

School in person is exactly how it was and is at home. Students log on to the Teams meeting and either plug in headphones or mute their computer so that they are able to hear the teacher. With the block schedule that East is not yet accustomed to, sitting in class for 90 minutes can become very boring.

At-home students have a lot more freedom with restroom breaks and moving around, but for people in the building, very specific safety precautions have to be taken and movement within the building is limited.

There was a strong push from parents to allow people back in person. In person school can be beneficial for the kids who didn’t adjust to complete remote learning, but it is very obvious that it is taking a huge toll on teachers since they now have to teach the students in person while simultaneously dividing their attention to the students still at home.

While the school board and school themselves have been doing the best they can to accommodate the needs of everyone, the hybrid learning model has proven to be challenging just like this entire year has been as a whole.

The topic of being back in person is controversial, but it should depend on each student and what they think is best for them. Teachers thrive off students in the classroom and while it is obvious that the hybrid learning has brought on new challenges and stress, it is also obvious that teachers are overjoyed with the fact that they get to see students.

For now, the hybrid model is working, but if COVID cases continue to rise, then the smart idea would be to go back to remote learning for everyone. Kids who need the in-person help should be here. If there is any hope for the seniors to have any sort of graduation and for future years to be like a normal school year, the smart decision needs to be made even though it might not be what makes everyone happy.

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