By Emily Saul
September 10, 2020
Roughly five months ago, nearly every student in the United States received the news that they would have a “short break” from in-person classes. Many students felt excited, while some were anxious about having to learn virtually. Regardless of how each student felt, just a few weeks later almost every school in the country shut down for the rest of the school year, and students had to finish online.
Many students were devastated at this news, as it meant they couldn’t see their friends, some had trouble learning without being in class, and for the Class of 2020, some of the most exciting parts of their final year of high school were ruined.
What almost no one could predict, however, was this situation rolling into the 2020-2021 school year. Every school in the nation was faced with the difficult decision of how to deal with this year. It was left up to governors to set guidelines for school districts, like having students wear masks, having all desks at least 6 ft. apart, etc. Then, each school district had to decide how they wanted students returning to school. Some schools pushed back their start dates, some decided to start the year virtually, others did a hybrid, where certain students would go to school certain days a week and a few schools had students return full time.
As for Norwood, the school district is very fortunate to have been able to start the year out in a hybrid. Students whose primary guardian’s last name starts with the letters A-K go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the rest go on Thursdays and Fridays, leaving Wednesday as a virtual day, where attendance for each student is counted by them signing into some sort of meeting for each class. Students/parents also had the choice to do fully online if they felt more comfortable remaining at home.
Other school districts, however, were not able to return to school at all. and had to either push back their start date or start the year virtually. For example, Cincinnati Public Schools, a very large school district with 65 schools and about 36,000 students, originally had a hybrid plan similar to Norwood’s, only the students in the two groups alternated going to school on Wednesdays. However, the school changed their plan just before August to have virtual learning for the first five weeks of school, and then reevaluate.
Going to school at Norwood looks and feels a lot different. For example, in the high school, there are stickers on the ground reminding everyone to remain 6 ft apart, all students and teachers are either wearing a mask or a face shield, and all desks are 4 ft away from each other, with plexiglass shields on each of them.
Senior Emily Betts says, “It’s really weird right now being a senior with everything that is going on. It honestly doesn’t even feel like a senior year. I just hope that the year gets better.”
For most people, this school year is not going the way they wanted, so it is important to follow the rules of social distancing and wear your mask so that, hopefully, students will shortly be able to return to school full time.