Students switch learning environments as marking period ends

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Michael Martin

Students eat their lunches while social distancing in the cafeteria. With more students returning to campus after having the opportunity to switch learning environments. “When looking at the impact [of more students returning to campus], we have to look at the safety and security of our campus in general,” principal Ashley Rainwater said. “We’re going to look at numbers in our lunchroom, look at numbers in bathrooms, look at our numbers in our hallways to make sure we’re able to socially distance while we’re at school.”

The chime of entering a Zoom class will be replaced with the ring of the bell for 87 students beginning on Monday, as they switch from virtual instruction to face to face learning for the second nine weeks. 

I just don’t feel like it’s worth the risk to put her at risk, to put myself at risk,”

— sophomore Melissa Clark

Though for 56 students, the opposite will be true as some students have also decided to return to online. One of them being sophomore Melissa Clark.  

“I have asthma and my grandma just turned 70 so she’s more susceptible to the coronavirus,” Clark said. “I just don’t feel like it’s worth the risk to put her at risk, to put myself at risk.”

But it isn’t Clark’s grade level that’s seeing much learning environment changes compared to the freshmen and senior classes, as close to 50 freshmen return to campus and more seniors have decided to go back to virtual learning, according to principal Ashley Rainwater. 

 “One of the biggest impacts of these changes is we have more freshmen coming back, so when you’re looking at a number like that, you’re looking at multiple sections of freshman classes,” Rainwater said. “We’ve had to change some teachers and what they teach, we’ve had to move some classes around to enable us to create more freshman level classes for those kids that are coming back for the first time to take classes on campus.” 

Aside from freshmen, students from all grade levels are coming back to in person school, including junior Kirthi Gummadi. 

“It was always something that had been on the table, even when school first started, it wasn’t something that my parents were completely opposed to,” Gummadi said. “It was more so our situation at the time and what made more sense. The people we were hanging out with, we didn’t want to give them corona, especially since we were spending time with a lot of older people. That’s not the case anymore, so it made sense to switch back.”

Gummadi is prepared for what in person learning will look like, now matter how different, as she believes face to face is more efficient for her learning.  

“I found learning over Zoom really difficult. I think that it’s easier for me to learn something when the teacher is in the same room as me and I can see their writing and not just see the screen. ” she said. “It’s going to be a little different [in person] because all my core class teachers are different, that’s definitely going to be something I have to adjust to. School isn’t the same either, especially with socially distancing, the way classrooms are set up, wearing masks, lunch, advisory, all of that is going to be really weird. I think it’s going to be easy to adjust to, but it’s just not going to be the same as past years.”

I think it’s going to be easy to adjust to, but it’s just not going to be the same as past years,”

— junior Kirthi Gummadi

The school is prepared for Gummadi and other students who have chosen to return to campus, making sure everyone will still be able to adhere to safety precautions. 

“When looking at the impact, we have to look at the safety and security of our campus in general,” Rainwater said. “We’re going to look at numbers in our lunchroom, look at numbers in bathrooms, look at our numbers in our hallways to make sure we’re able to socially distance while we’re at school.”