That’s a WRAP on Zoom: WRAP students return to WHS for the 2021-2022 school year


Credit: Courtesy of Ciaran Murphy

Sophomore Ciaran Murphy is happy he can finally be back with his classmates in person after so long apart. “Everything is easier,” Murphy said. “I can talk to friends without having to send a text.”

Nina Wilson

Every year, students face the transition back into school after their summer vacations. For those who participated in Wayland High School’s Remote Alternative Program, (WRAP), during the 2020-2021 school year, the return may be a harsher hurdle. Having not been in school for a year and a half, these students may struggle to readjust to the in-school atmosphere after being isolated from the normalacies their peers endured.

Some students and their families chose to turn to the remote program for a variety of reasons. Many, like sophomore Ciaran Murphy, were concerned about the consistent amount of COVID-19 cases in the country last year.

“Just looking at the case numbers,” Murphy said. “I was relieved I didn’t have to worry about that everyday when I was at home.”

But, this relief came at a difficult learning cost. Murphy said that it was much harder to focus when all of his attention had to be on the screen. He would often get distracted by small things and miss important information. Feeding off the energy in the classroom has allowed Murphy to once again feel engaged in the classroom.

“[The first few days] I was both really happy to be back in school, but also not as tired because I wasn’t really putting everything into focusing on one screen,” Murphy said.

Throughout the first week, Murphy periodically noticed the little things he had forgotten about while he was remote. He was grateful to have them back, and didn’t notice how much he missed them until he had them again.

“Just being able to access people for a quick question is much more helpful,” Murphy said.

While Murphy was excited by the ease of the first day, others, like junior Mishaal Khawaja, had a wide range of emotions.

“Throughout the day, [I was] so nervous that something was going to go wrong,” Khawaja said.

After being out of school for so long, Khawaja wasn’t sure what to expect with new changes. She struggled over last year and wasn’t sure whether she would be able to keep up.

“At times, it didn’t feel like I was learning anything, and I was frustrated because I didn’t know how to teach myself,” Khawaja said.

With so many gaps, Khawaja was concerned that new material would be overwhelming and completely unfamiliar. This fear was taken over by the excitement of finally returning to school with her classmates.

“When you know that you’re going to have friends in your classes… it’s not as bad as I initially thought the transition would be,” Khawaja said.

Freshman Tristen Chow, along with other freshmen previously enrolled in the WRAP program, faced an even larger readjustment. Chow notes that all of the changes have seemed sudden after being online. Without seeing the shifts in her classmates’ personalities in eighth grade, Chow did not know what she would be seeing when she returned.

Chow said these variations are not bad, but they have taken some work to get used to again. With many new things coming all at once, the transition is somewhat overwhelming.

“Reconnecting with people, while also adjusting to the curriculum I missed, has been hard,” Chow said. “I was very disconnected [when I was online].”

Despite the difficulties with falling back in line with their classmates, previous WRAP students said they would not go back if they could.

“There is nothing that makes me ever want to go back to being on zoom,” Murphy said. “Everything is better [in person]. I’m not going to say I like handwriting stuff, but I’ll take it in exchange for not sitting on a computer all day.”