What It’s Like to be Back in School

A student arriving at school. Photo courtesy of sheknows.com

A student arriving at school. Photo courtesy of sheknows.com

Kimberly Alvarenga Franco, Video and Social Media Manager

Last year was a crazy year: staying home, watching our teachers teach through a computer, and forgetting the feeling of socializing with our classmates. Everyone was virtual, not only at school, but for most jobs too. Due to COVID, millions of children across the country spent 18 months at home. And because of this, people got used to their own routines by just sitting at a desk and missing their classmates’ conversation. Students here at Eleanor Roosevelt explain how they feel being back in school and how it’s going so far. Many are loving the social life, while some would rather stay home and do their learning there. 

“I would wake up right before class, my schedule has completely changed,” Junior Brenda states. Many schedules have changed for students and teachers. Everyone has to wake up at a time that works and make sure they show up on time. Bus problems have been a big problem this year, which is affecting students and teachers due to the fact that many students arrive late to their classes and some even miss a whole period. 30% of students here at Roosevelt agree with Brenda’s statements regarding virtual learning: “I got to eat whenever,” “I got a lot of things done at home,” and “I’m not used to so many crowds of people.” Masks have been a small problem for some students who find them uncomfortable, but it’s required for all students and teachers to wear a mask for the safety of everyone. And with that, a fair percentage of students feel like virtual learning is meant for them.

Teachers here at Eleanor Roosevelt and other schools in Prince George’s County have seen more improvement than last year. Students shared that staying home is not meant for them all. 90% of students feel like they are free at school, and socializing with old friends and making new friends is something that they missed the most. Junior Jay replies after being asked what are the pros and cons of being back, “I get to see friends and I feel that I’m connecting with my teachers again, but the cons have to be I could contract the virus being in a big crowd of people everyday.” Many have stated and feel like high school plays a big part in their lives and they can’t miss out on activities. And just even getting the feeling of walking around the hallways and seeing friends brings a whole different experience. English Language Learner teacher in Belmont High School shares “Some students are feeling really just relieved to be back in a very social setting, and some people are getting used to making connections again. The main thing has been maintaining open lines of communication with students to make sure that if there’s something going on . . . we can figure that out and move forward. But I’m feeling it’s just so nice to all be present together in the same space.”

10% of students at ERHS are in between virtual and being back in the building. “I love this year, I like it here, nice people and lovely school but in fact, I wouldn’t mind going virtual at all, I got a lot of work done at home” says Julia Camacho, continuing with “being home without having people around has shown us that it’s okay to be alone, we have focus on ourselves and learned things we didn’t know we had in us.” Most of us had time to reflect and think to ourselves with our choices. We have been in school our whole lives and haven’t had time to think of other things. Virtual was a whole new experience and some students are glad it’s over with. It’s safe to say if we ever go to back to doing classes online again, we’ll be prepared.