Students’ reactions vary as WHS returns to 5 days a week

WHS+staff+have+started+to+set+up+desks+in+order+to+get+ready+for+the+all-in+return+to+school+on+April+27.+Since+the+whole+student+body+will+be+returning%2C+desks+will+be+placed+three+feet+apart+instead+of+six.+%E2%80%9CThe+reality+is%2C+we+aren%E2%80%99t+going+to+be+able+to+meet+the+new+social+distancing+requirements+in+a+large+number+of+classes%2C%E2%80%9D+freshman+Adam+Lange+said.

Credit: Courtesy of Allyson Mizoguchi

WHS staff have started to set up desks in order to get ready for the all-in return to school on April 27. Since the whole student body will be returning, desks will be placed three feet apart instead of six. “The reality is, we aren’t going to be able to meet the new social distancing requirements in a large number of classes,” freshman Adam Lange said.

Sammy Johnson and Emily Roberge

As the April 27 start to fully in-person school approaches, the school is preparing to have classes with both cohorts. Along with this decision to fully return, comes mixed reactions from various WHS students.

Many believe that the increase in social interaction will be beneficial to students as they will be spending less time in their homes, and more time surrounded by their peers that they haven’t been with all together in over a year.

“I’m really excited to go back all-in because then I can see all of my friends from my classes when I usually only get to see half of them,” junior Ben Chen said.

Some think that the increased time in the classroom will also result in better academic performance. Many students find it harder to pay attention to the material being taught without having teachers nearby and switching back and forth from in-person to online.

“I am happy to be going back five days a week, it gives us some sense of normality back in our lives and I think that it will help improve the grades of lots of students,” sophomore Ryan Desmond said.

“I think it is crucial we go back because learning when I have been in the classroom has been much more beneficial than at home.”

— Ben Chen

However, for some students there are concerns about the decreased distancing when it comes to increasing the amount of students. Following state guidelines, the hybrid model required six feet between desks while fully in-person school will only have three feet between students.

“The reality is, we aren’t going to be able to meet the new social distancing requirements in a large number of classes,” freshman Adam Lange said. “The only reason that I’m not going into the WRAP program is that the school board extended the funding of the pooled testing program to the end of the year, so we will know if the plan isn’t working and make adjustments accordingly.”

For some, hybrid learning offered a lighter workload as students only met with their teachers twice a week. Asynchronous learning on Wednesdays also gave students the opportunity to complete their work and meet with teachers during office hours, however, due to state-mandate they will no longer be incorporated into the schedule.

“My biggest concern is falling behind in work, just because remote learning has been pretty light on work,” Chen said. “When we are all in I think the workload will be a little bit heavier.”

Despite the return to fully-in person posing greater safety concerns, some students think administration has taken all the necessary safety precautions throughout the school year to ensure safety within the WHS community.

“I think the school has done a good job with handling COVID-19 cases and covid safety, and I’m confident they will have taken the right steps in keeping us all safe,” Desmond said. “I don’t have any concerns going back full time, I think it’s the best thing for everyone at the moment.”

The news of the decision to return back to school full time caused a mix of emotions throughout the community. It is a somewhat controversial topic due to safety concerns and a big change in students schedules.

“The hybrid schedule provided a sense of balance, mentally and in terms of safety,” Lange said. “I don’t know why we would change that right before the school year ends. We might as well just wait until next year, so we will have more time to coordinate it safely and we’ll have more scientific data.”

Many people however have put a lot of trust into the administration and strongly believe they are doing everything they can to make sure this transition is as safe and smooth as possible.

“I feel pretty safe especially since Wayland has the pooled Covid testing and because I am sure they are taking every precaution they can to make sure that we are safe in school,” Chen said.