Students View Onsite Return Cautiously

Those interviewed shared safety concerns and hopes for a motivation boost


Morgan Fowler

Cafeteria tables, equipped with two flexible plastic screens each, await students for lunch on the first day of hybrid instruction, Jan. 19, 2021.

As the district continued to plan for the return to onsite instruction, students expressed concerns about safety and staying motivated to learn. 

The Shakerite emailed interview requests to 50 students, six of whom responded. Some were excited to return to the building, while others voiced uncertainty.

“I think I want to go back to school solely because I think it’ll help with my motivation to do work,” junior Sophia Arnoldi wrote. “Virtual school is easier, but my motivation to do work is so low that it ends up being more stressful than it ever needed to be.”

Prioritizing health and safety is a concern for returning students. Freshman Chloe Khayat said she wouldn’t mind waiting until January to go back. “I would like to go back to school, but only when it’s safest for everyone,”  she said.

Students who chose to resumed onsite learning today districtwide after the district delayed its most recent return date, Jan. 4, in keeping with health officials’ guidance. The delay was called for to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread caused by holiday travel and celebrations.

Junior Martina Richter said administrators, teachers and students must share the responsibility for a safe return. “I think that if proper protocols are enforced and everyone feels responsible for the health of our classmates, teachers and community, that it is worth a shot and we can try coming back in a safe and organized manner,” she said.

Opinions also vary on whether remote instruction is more or less stressful than onsite learning. “I think it is the same amount of stress, just in different areas,” Richter said. 

Junior Meredith Pope said that the block schedule makes school less stressful. “Not having classes every day is a lot easier, homework wise. But I also think having presentations and group discussions are a lot harder online,” Pope wrote.

Freshman Satorian Golphin thinks otherwise. “Virtual school is way more stressful,” she wrote.

Some students don’t get to choose whether they return to onsite learning or not. That decision is up to their parents or guardians. “My parents did not let me decide whether I’m going or not going back to school, so I am going back to school,” Golphin said.

Senior Colin McCabe will remain in remote learning because of high-risk family members. “My parents briefly talked to me about opting out of returning to school,” he said. “I wasn’t exactly asked when they made the decision, but they knew I agreed with them when it came to sitting the school year out.”

“This time is stressful,” said McCabe, “I know we hear this on commercials all day, every day, every outlet of the media says ‘these uncertain times,’ but these times truly are uncertain.”

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