The COVID-19 pandemic is assuredly making the 2020-21 school year as challenging—if not more so—than the last. Last spring, COVID-19 forced the closure of all in-person learning, but who knew the debate over hybrid or virtual learning would still persist today?
Currently, halfway through the school year, we have seen many changes in how our school is run – with big events like homecoming being canceled, sports being delayed, and a different type of spring musical, this year is one to remember. As we look back, at the beginning of the year, school started on September 8, with freshmen transitioning to hybrid in mid-October, seniors following two weeks later, and finally, sophomores and juniors having their first in-person experience in November.
However, during the holiday season, there were weeks where we were all virtual, and then back to hybrid. This has really changed the experience of every PV student, but it has affected the seniors last year at high school most of all.
As everyone has now had an experience with virtual learning, many have come to realize the downfalls of it. The majority of the upperclassmen realize that they pay attention better in-person. They also like being able to see and communicate easier with friends and teachers, and it is not the same over Zoom. However, many do like being able to sleep in and be able to have the freedom of doing their schoolwork at home.
“I love being in-person since it is so much easier to talk to your friends and teachers, and it just makes me wake up and get motivated for the day. I like virtual learning since I can do some chores or work out during my study hall or when classes let out early, but I definitely prefer learning in person,” Hannah Whetstone, a senior, said.
Not only have students had to adapt to virtual and/or hybrid learning, but musicals and sports have either been canceled or changed. The fall play, Clue, was held over Zoom this year, and the spring musical was canceled in the traditional sense. Fall sports were able to occur during the fall, with all players filling out COVID-19 forms before practices and wearing masks. Whereas during the winter, we have seen a rise in case numbers, so winter sports continued to get postponed until the official start date of January 11, following the PIAA guidelines.
“I participate in the fall play, spring musical, drama club, choir, both select choirs, link crew, and NHS at school. As a senior, I definitely feel like I’ve lost a lot of what this year could have been. With an online play, spaced and shortened choir rehearsals, and an outdoor musical, it’s very strange,” senior Kelly McKenzie, said.
As the year progresses, we have reached more normalcy. With the start of marking period three, we turned our three hybrid groups into two; known as orange and brown. Now, students will be able to go in two to three days a week. More changes are sure to come.