Return to Normalcy?

 As we work our way through the second quarter, we haven’t forgotten the challenges we faced in getting everyone back together here at Central again: from schools closing in March of 2020 to distance learning last year, I’m sure we were all hoping to restore some normalcy with the return of everyone to in-person learning. But have we actually? A survey was sent out to some students to hear their opinions on the school year thus far.

 When prompted to describe how the return to school has been for the individual student, 65% of the responses indicated that it has been difficult while the other 35% said that it was either easy or not too bothersome. Students were then given the opportunity to explain why, and the responses, unsurprisingly, varied.

 One student who claims to have had an easier time with the return stated, “[I] like in person over distance as it gives me a routine and keeps me focused with the school atmosphere.” Many other students expressed similar views about learning in person being a much more productive learning environment as well. Others, however, expressed that although in person may be more productive, safety was their primary concern.

 “I don’t feel safe going to school in a pandemic, even if everyone wants to act like everything’s OK now. […] People are dying from this. Schools are pretending students are immune. We are not safe and they do not care,” one senior responded.

 Over the summer, the district finalized its decision that distance learning would not be an option. If a student wanted to continue learning virtually, they would have to transfer out of their school to attend. This would be a hard decision for any student, but for students here at Central Magnet School, there is another factor to consider: Transferring out of Central means giving up the opportunity to receive the magnet school diploma that they’ve been working towards, perhaps for years. So, while students aren’t necessarily forced to go to school in person, they potentially could have to give up a great deal in order to remain virtual.

 In addition to the survey questions asked above, the survey also provided the opportunity for students to be able to make any other comments they wanted to. Some students took this opportunity to talk about frustrations with the schedule this year. The consensus amongst the students discussing the schedule in the survey is that they much prefer last year’s schedule.

 “Last year’s schedule was simpler and easy to keep up with classes. This year’s is confusing: A blocks feel like I’ve been unproductive, then B blocks feel overwhelming,” one student explained. Perhaps this feedback can be something to keep in mind for the future.

 Regardless of your opinions on the return to school this year, your opinions are valid and the hard work everyone continues to put in this year does not go unnoticed. 

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