Class of COVID-19

Freshmen Adjust to High School Both In-Person, Online

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Courtesy of Santhiago Marquez

Sitting in 6th period, freshman Santhiago Marquez joins his class Zoom call. Marquez came back to school on Sept. 8 with the rest of the freshmen. “[In-person learning] is easier because the first day online we had a whole bunch of technology issues but in the first day of in-person we didn’t have a single one,” Marquez said.

Kaiya Wilkinson, Reporter

Going from middle school to high school can be a very hard transition. It is a world filled with new people, new teachers and new classrooms. With COVID-19 being a serious issue, schools have put forth many social distancing and mask requirements to keep students safe. With these new policies, freshmen have had to adjust to both a new school and different expectations.

Freshman Santhiago Marquez said that he was hoping for a true in-person experience for his start of high school, but was a little disappointed.

“I thought it would be class but with masks and six feet apart, not Zooming inside of the classroom,” Marquez said. “Some of my teachers acted like we weren’t even there, but my English teacher Mrs. Alarcon acknowledged us and once we were in asynchronous time she answered our questions and interacted with us by asking if we had any problems getting around school and our grades.”

For teachers, balancing Zoom and in-person students is difficult, especially when the majority of students are still on zoom, according to Computer Science teacher, Cheri Whalen.

“The atmosphere of the classroom just cannot exist in the way we’re accustomed to,” Whalen said. “We aren’t trying to ignore students, we are trying to be comfortable in our new environment and help our students be comfortable in their environment.”

While Freshman Blake Cookson said that he agrees that Zoom within the classroom takes away from the in-person experience, he said that in-person allows him to get out of the house and there are fewer technology issues at school.

“I think in person is better for me because it is more personal,” Cookson said. “The best part [is] that I get to know my way around the school. [In-person learning] was easier in my opinion just because I didn’t have to worry about having my internet randomly drop.”

While many freshmen have returned to in-person, some choose to remain online. Freshmen Brooke Kramer and Grace Taylor both opted for virtual learning over returning to school.

“My parents want to be as safe as possible by keeping us at home until there is a vaccine,” Kramer said. “[Virtual learning] is basically the same as in-person right now, the only difference is that you have to drive to school. I think [virtual learning] was less nerve-wracking because I had a lot less things to worry about, like what I was going to wear and how I was going to find my classes.” 

Taylor felt a similar way in that virtual school was the better option for learning. She also took into consideration being on the swim team and how online provides less risk of having to miss practice.

“I chose online because my teachers said that we would just be doing Zoom in class and if someone in my class got COVID-19, I would miss two weeks of swim practice and that could ruin my season,” Taylor said. “I’m usually really scared to talk in front of the whole class but talking in breakout rooms [in] Zoom has been less scary.”

Students this year have the choice to remain online or go to in person. Current in-person students can switch to online at any point, however, students who are currently online have to wait until a new six weeks. For any questions regarding in-person or online learning click here.