After almost a full year of doing school half online and half in person, for the homestretch of my high school experience during a worldwide pandemic, we are going back to five days of fully in-person learning or fully virtual. When we are so close to being done, this instead places more stress on families and students. With some of the most memorable high school experiences coming up (prom and graduation), I am awfully nervous that school is going to have to be shut down from COVID outbreaks and those two very important lifelong memories will be ruined. The hybrid model is what has worked best for me this year and it allowed students the choice to do what works best for them.
When the seniors were sent a survey asking what model we would prefer, the school board came back with options that fulfilled every students’ needs, and not one option included taking away the asynchronous Wednesdays. We were given those options starting March 22nd. Now, less than a month later, we are being told we have one of two very different options that most students have not experienced all year.
It is not that students are lazy and we do not want to go back to school. We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that has taken a toll on students, especially those who are finishing high school. We have lost a lot in the past year. Our Junior year vanished. Spring sports disappeared. Live performance of the musical was gone. Even AP tests were different, though they did happen. Junior year prom was cancelled. Senior homecoming was an outside bonfire instead of a formal dance. It seems like our voices are not being heard by the school board.
Having those Wednesdays off gives students a chance to catch up on work, work at their own jobs if they need to, and just provides time for necessary self-care. People need to recognize that students that look like they are being lazy, could be going through a lot more than you think. What looks like wasteful life is a student struggling through their emotions, thoughts, and adjusting to the constant changes due to COVID. This pandemic is all new to everybody, which brings its own daily stress as well. How can a student know how to handle the day when we don’t know what the day will bring?
The hybrid model gives students the chance to have that in-person learning, if they need it, at a comfortable amount of days in school. I know my mental health has gotten worse throughout this year but I was able to have that Wednesday to really take care of myself and find new motivations. We are all going through a hard time right now, and rushing to get back to school in the last few months of school seems unnecessary.
I know the school has done a lot to help the seniors have a somewhat normal senior year, but hearing our opinions and listening to the student body would help us have the normal senior celebrations we all are so excited to experience. To everyone going through a hard time right now, you are not alone. Keep pushing through. You are doing the best you can, and that is good enough. Let’s get through these last few months of school and get ready for the future.