First day back in person overwhelming

Safety concerns apparent after new transition

First+day+back+in+person+overwhelming

Molly Schochet

Walking out of school after the first day back to 100 percent, I felt exhausted. I had been going in person twice a week during hybrid learning, and while it was nice to see people who I haven’t seen in over a year, the amount of people at school overwhelmed me. Coming back in person, my main concern was if I would feel safe, but I didn’t consider how the added amount of people would also socially drain me. Despite the fact I am definitely extroverted and often thrive off social interaction, the chaos of the day and its newness made it hard to enjoy my day. 

From the moment we started kindergarten, we have been expected to adapt to being physically in school and over the past year, we have been expected to quickly adapt to distance and then hybrid learning. For me, the hardest part of the last couple of months, school wise, has been the constant change from one model to another. I wasn’t really given the time to adjust to what school will now be like for the foreseeable future socially before being thrown right back into work. While I understand that teachers have already had to majorly adjust what they are teaching, I would have appreciated a more lowkey day that allowed me to adjust to the new social scene without having to worry about my work. 

Seeing the amount of people in the halls as I walked from class to class made me almost feel like it was a normal school day. While it was nice to feel this normalcy after a year of the unprecedented, it was also frightening for me, as I felt like there were too many people in the halls and I was unable to maintain a safe distance from people. The inability to social distance worries me as the district’s COVID-19 cases rise and it seems harder if not impossible to contract trace people during passing times. While I am not sure it was the right time to transition to in person learning, I feel like teachers and students did their part in trying to stay as safe as possible.

Because there are a good amount of kids who have chosen to learn fully at home, classes did not feel much different than they did in hybrid. Teachers still had to balance and engage both the kids in class and online. This added piece of the puzzle has made it so teachers are not able to give their full attention to either their online or in-person students. Additionally, I definitely feel disconnected from my classmates online. Despite the fact we are in the same class, it is hard to make connections with them as it can sometimes be hard to hear them and for them to see us. Also, it does not help that most of the time I am not able to see my classmates online, as teachers do not always mirror the Zoom screen. As we continue the in-person model, I am looking forward to more hands-on learning experiences and activities that we couldn’t do online. I also find being able to get teachers’ help in person much more helpful than getting help online. 

Overall, everyone at school is trying their best to make this transition back to in-person learning as easy as possible, but I wish teachers would look at how this transition has affected students socially and emotionally and how that can impact academics.