Staples’ transition back to normal is better than staying in our bubble


Photo by Jalen St. Fort '22

What the distance learning setup looks like.

During the seventh period of the day on March 11, 2020, Principal Thomas announced that school was being shut down for two weeks until the Coronavirus had passed through the area and there was no risk of getting infected.

Many of us were excited because we had thought it was going to be the easiest and most relaxing two-week vacation ever. However, two weeks became a month, and a month became two months, and before we knew it, we were stuck quarantining at home for the remainder of the school year.

I was left with plenty of time to connect with my friends and play video games, I can honestly say that during the second half of the school year, I didn’t learn much of anything.

It was during this time that many of us were first introduced to Zoom and distance learning. I personally loved the first weeks and months of distance learning because at this time, there wasn’t a required Zoom for every class and we always had until 11:59 p.m. to submit our assignments. We also had the option of choosing the pass/fail plan, where if we had above a 60%, we would pass the class with no record on our report card.

While this was fun and I was left with plenty of time to connect with my friends and play video games, I can honestly say that during the second half of the school year, I didn’t learn much of anything. We were all getting used to life during the pandemic and were not really familiar with the new way of learning at all. Those issues made it really hard to learn new things. I also could sense that many teachers had taken their feet off the gas and were lenient with our quality of work, so long as it was submitted on time.

So, I was pretty excited when August rolled around and the district introduced the new hybrid learning system. I was finally going to be able to see people and I was going to actually learn things in school again. I can admit that the hybrid model was better in some ways, but worse in others.

Throughout the first quarter, my teachers were very much rookies at learning how to work the Zoom calls. They naturally catered to the in-person students more than the online ones. Also, their microphones were sometimes impossible to hear, the camera angles were sometimes really bad and I had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with horrible wifi connection because of the number of people in my household who were all accessing the internet at the same time. 

The hybrid model was, at times, even harder than the original full distance model from the previous school year. It was hard to get in a consistent routine because of the back and forth between home and school, and because of all the mishaps online, it was hard to get all of the information from the teacher that was covered in class.

Then, on Feb. 12, Principal Thomas announced that the school would be moving towards 75% capacity with students going to school at least three days a week. While many people, including myself, had mixed emotions leaving the comfort of our homes for an extra day during the week, it was another step toward getting back to normal.  

The 75% model did not present as many problems as the hybrid learning model, and I actually quickly developed a routine and learned more than I was under the distance learning platform.

Then, the superintendent announced that we would be going back to 100% on March 25. I believe in-person learning is the only way for students to properly learn. There will be fewer distractions and obstacles and the teachers can focus on one group of students instead of two. They will be more hands-on in helping students, which will ultimately lead to better grades for them. 

As the weeks continue to go by hopefully we will be able to remain in person and finish the year with some form of normalcy.  It has already been super fun and enjoyable at school, and as we get into the warmer months, I think it will get even better.