Return to school met with joy, curiosity

Excitement, concern rise

Senior+Tait+Myers+and+junior+Miles+Rider+race+to+the+finish+line+Sept.+9.+The+race+featured+two+students+from+each+grade.

Henry Harper

Senior Tait Myers and junior Miles Rider race to the finish line Sept. 9. The race featured two students from each grade.

Oliver Smith and Crystal Diaz

As senior Gavin Thoe returned to school after a year and a half of distance and hybrid learning, he said he felt relieved to see everyone back.

“I’m happy to see everyone back in school and I felt very good,” Thoe said. “It’s very refreshing to be back and to see all of the new and old faces.”

Park began the school year Sept. 8, marking the first time since March 2020 that the full student body has been in the building at the same time. According to assistant principal Todd Goggleye, in addition to the returning students, Park also saw a jump in the student population. 

“It feels great to be back. We have roughly around 100-200 more students this year,” Goggleye said. “It’s great to see that our enrollment has gone up.”

Math teacher Robert Otto said he is pleased to see the school come back to life after it was drained by the pandemic.

“I’m super excited to be back this school year. It’s been fantastic not having to worry about people online,” Otto said. “It just brings life into the school.”

Thoe said due to the lack of normalcy of the past two school years, it has been hard to adjust to normal school as a senior.

“I don’t feel like a senior but now that I’m around everyone and I see no one older than me, it’s kind of getting to me,” Thoe said.

I’m super excited to be back this school year. It’s been fantastic not having to worry about people online.”

— Robert Otto

Goggleye said he is worried about students respecting the COVID-19 guidelines and he implores students to understand the importance of wearing masks. 

“My concern is student masking,” Goggleye said. “We don’t want to be in the same situation we were in last year. Because of the new variant, it’s important we continue to wear our masks.” 

According to Otto, he is also worried about the procedure for positive COVID-19 tests and keeping students safe.

“I have concerns with general protocol and how it is going to go down if someone does test positive,” Otto said. 

General protocols include requirements on masks being worn indoors at all times except during lunch and that vaccinated individuals don’t need to quarantine unless they test positive for COVID-19. 

Despite concerns from teachers, Thoe said he is confident in his classmates to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.

“I’m vaccinated and I know a lot of people are vaccinated and I’m feeling pretty safe,” Thoe said. “I don’t have any worries about people wearing masks either.”