Return to school poses challenges

Adjustments overwhelm students


Elena Ortiz Fishman

My last full year of school with no interruptions, was 8th grade — meaning, I’ve never had a full year of high school. But this fall, students of all grades will be returning to Park, as an attempt to resume to normalcy — I have very mixed feelings about this. 

To me, going to school has always been about the friendships and the connections you make. Taking away the entire social aspect of school makes it completely boring and dull. Simply put, taking the fun out of education has made every day of the pandemic feel like a monotonous chore. Logging on to Zoom meetings and doing all the assigned tasks between an inordinate amount work was not fulfilling and instead worsened my stress. 

But after complaining about all the changes students had endured last year — online learning, new schedules, tests and a later hybrid model — coming back to school Sept. 8, seems like yet another harsh, rushed adjustment, for both teachers and students alike. The halls being completely full again sounds so odd, as well as returning to how everything used to be pre-COVID-19. How can we make this shift more seamless? 

Last spring, during the 2020-21 school year, the school Board had made the decision to bring us back to 100% capacity as well —  yet I don’t think the change back then was as abrupt as it is now. Additionally, we were given Wednesdays as a free work day, which is something that I’ll miss this year as it made balancing school work much easier. 

With that extra day, students were exempt from sitting through classes or Zoom lectures and instead could use their time to get caught up by themselves or seek out one-on-one help with teachers — I found this to be a very helpful reprieve. This year, whether the School Board found the Wednesday adjustment to be unproductive or merely a waste of time, they inevitably got rid of it. 

This, alongside the ongoing pandemic and safety concerns arising with a full return, makes me feel hesitant regarding this upcoming school year.