JC students got the first taste of what school will look like for the foreseeable future beginning on October 5. Many students looked forward to the day with anticipation, excited to see their friends and the renovations made to the school. They were also excited to have in-person instruction once again. Although it was a step in the right direction, it was also a reminder that things won’t be normal for a while.
Students looked at the return to be a time where they would get a piece of normalcy back — most importantly, the social part.
One important part of being in school is the in-person instruction. Without this, class is less interactive and overall harder to get into. However, although we were in a room with teachers on our first day back at school, it was not much different than being at home.
While in school, students still had to sign into Teams to see any presentations the teacher would be giving. This defeated the purpose of being in school with a teacher and made the in-person classes feel almost pointless.
Some students also had to sign into Teams during class to do any work with groups — again, defeating the purpose of being in an in-person class.
Students understand the peculiar situation that our school has been put into. We know that they are hard at work trying to make going into school a worthwhile experience, but the first day back at school failed to provide much more than we experience at home.
Students were also excited to see their friends again and to be able to go to school with them but again, that element was lacking. Lunch time was one of the more notable situations.
While at lunch students are seated at least six feet apart, and they all must face the same direction. This does not allow for students to look at each other and have conversations during lunch which is a part of the day that many look forward to.
Again, students are understanding of the situation, but the first day back at school did not provide much more than virtual learning already does.
The best part of the day was the off-mods in which students were able to be together in the renovated parts of the school, specifically, the courtyard and the Learning Commons. In the courtyard, JC added Corn hole for the students to play which was a fun way to pass the time.
Going back to school for the first time in months was slightly disappointing. Overall, it didn’t provide much more for students than virtual learning already does, but there are ways to fix this.
One way would be to make the in-person classes more interactive. When we are in-person, Teams should be used as minimally as possible. This could help keep students interested and make going to school feel different than doing it at home.
Another way to change this is to make more opportunities for students to be social in school. Some ways to do this could be more group work in school while maintaining social distancing. Teachers could also allow time for discussion of the subject being taught.
As of now, there isn’t much to motivate students to go into the building itself. There are improvements that could be made. Students understand this is a work in progress, and we are eager to see where it goes.