New York, NY – Schools across the country are returning to in-class learning after a year into this pandemic. Transitioning to remote learning due to COVID-19 has been a massive culture shift for teachers, students and parents. Now, students are asked to make yet another adjustment and return to classrooms full-time. We checked in with middle schoolers in the San Francisco Bay Area to find out how they are feeling about going back to the classroom full-time.
In Marinwood, California – just north of San Francisco – Miller Creek Middle School introduced a hybrid learning schedule at the beginning of the school year. In this schedule, students split their time with four half-days in the classroom and then remote learning at home after lunch. At the time, only children of essential workers were in the hybrid program. By January, all students followed this schedule. For Miller Creek eighth grader Meggie Steinbeck, hybrid learning is just what she needed. “Personally, I prefer hybrid learning. I feel like it’s a lot less distracting, compared to an at-home environment.” Meggie said. “It’s also easier to connect with other classmates and teachers to get a better understanding of the work.”
It appears Meggie isn’t alone. Fellow Miller Creek eighth grader Lorena Salvado shares her sentiment about hybrid learning, with one caveat. “It is definitely different, but I really like being able to see my classmates and teachers in person,” Lorena said. “In the case of productivity, it is definitely easier and better to be at school, however I do miss the mornings of remote learning when there wasn’t such a hustle to get to another location and have to fully dress up and eat.”
“Personally, I prefer hybrid learning. I feel like it’s a lot less distracting, compared to an at-home environment.”Eighth grader Meggie Steinbeck
For Lycee Francais San Francisco Middle School student Sophie Costello, hybrid learning has its ups and downs. “In-person and online both have pros and cons. In-person I enjoy seeing people. It’s easier to participate in class, but the commute is quite terrible and takes up time out of my day.”
The commute seems to be a shared downside when it comes to returning to the classroom full-time. Another point of concern in reopening schools is the pandemic’s impact on students’ mental health. Currently, New York City is starting to re-open middle schools and high schools. Mental health screenings for students are set to launch in September 2021, according to the Gothamist.
I do miss the mornings of remote learning when there wasn’t such a hustle to get to another location and have to fully dress up and eat.”Eighth grader Lorena Salvado
According to an announcement from the New York City Department of Education, parents and students are required to provide consent to weekly COVID tests before returning to the classroom. Twenty percent of all school’s students and staff will be tested randomly on a weekly basis. If students and parents choose not to provide consent to random COVID testing, the announcement says the students will be transitioned to fully remote learning.
With the number of coronaviruses cases dropping across this country and more people getting vaccinated, we’re beginning to see the end of this pandemic. But how the drastic changes brought on by this pandemic have affected students’ mental health remains to be seen.