The Return to In-Person School: My Opinions and What to Expect by Matan R.
Updated: Apr 24, 2021
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, school this year looks very different from previous years. For the first time ever, teachers and staff had to run school online using platforms such as Zoom, Canvas, and Nearpod. The school has worked hard to bring school into a hybrid model in which students can either go to school in-person every other week or stay fully virtual. For most 6th grade students, this option became available April 8th or April 12th depending on whether you were chosen for "A" weeks or "B" weeks. For most 7th and 8th grade students, this option became available April 19th or April 26th.
Whether you're returning to the school building or remaining virtual, you might have some questions regarding the hybrid model. Here are my personal thoughts about reopening schools and the in-person experience.
Should you go to school partially in-person or choose to stay fully virtual--which one is better for you?
Julius West is taking a lot of safety precautions, including the requirement of face masks, hand washing, ventilation systems, cleaning desks, and more. Overall, I do believe it is safe to go to school in-person, though, like everything else, it does have some risk. However, there are a few reasons why, despite the fact that it’s safe, you might not want to return to school in-person until next year. Firstly, if you or anyone you live with is high risk for Covid-19 and is not vaccinated, you may not want to risk it at all. Secondly, in-person school is a big change. There are a lot of perks about attending school virtually, and giving some of them up is going to be difficult. I personally think going to in-person school now is beneficial so that I can see my friends and try to get back to normal, but you and your family have to decide what’s best for you.
What does in-person school look like this year and how does it differ from previous years?
This week was by far the strangest week of school in my life. I completed each subject twice: once in-person and once online. Funny how the schedule worked out that way. Going to school in-person feels like a different world. The teachers and other students look more real and very different from what they look like on Zoom. Drop-off is very similar to other years. The only real difference is that you have to wear masks and distance on the bus and when you walk in the building. Once you get into the school building, as long as you know all the room numbers (you can find them on StudentVUE), it isn’t hard to find where you’re supposed to be. Wearing a mask all day may not sound great, but it really isn’t that bad. The classes themselves are pretty similar to virtual classes, but it’s really nice to be around other students and teachers, instead of trying to interact from home in front of a Zoom screen. Transitions between classes are pretty flawless, although it’s somewhat annoying to always walk on the right side of the hallways. Recess was fun but a bit awkward, which could partly be attributed to the fact that it was the first two days of in-person school. One of the P.E. teachers came out with a bag of soccer balls for us to use. Lunch and dismissal were pretty much the same as always. That’s as good as I can describe what in-person school was like these first few days.
What did I like (and dislike) about the hybrid model?
There are a lot of good things about going to school in-person, but naturally there are some downsides also. One of my biggest dislikes is that you can’t use the restroom between classes, though I can understand why the rule is there. My other main dislike is that most students aren’t allowed to go every week, only every other week. I wish all students had the option to go every week because having to switch back and forth is kind of annoying, but it wouldn’t be as safe to have so many students in the building at a time. Other than that, I like what the school has done. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and there is only so much they can do; however, I really like the hybrid model and going to school in-person does feel very safe.
Overall, I liked in-person school the days I’ve gone in so far, and I think that, for many students, going back to school is a good decision. Considering that the pandemic isn't over, Julius West has done a good job implementing the hybrid model and making school as effective as possible while keeping students and staff safe.