Going with the flow

The pros and cons of returning to class face-to-face

At the end of last year the struggle was real for junior Miah Broderick. Due to the fact that she is a hands on and visual learner, the whole online experience was really hard for her to get a hold of her teachers for the help that she personally needed, as well as understanding the material, Broderick said. For expectations this year, she noticed a lot of change. She expected to be more involved with school activities but now, she lost the ability to connect with people and learn the traditional way she is used to. 

Prior to school starting, Seminole County Public Schools offered four options. Students who chose the in-school learning option found new additions to classrooms, making for a less-than-traditional experience.

Safeguards were introduced in the SCPS 2020-21 Reopening Plan: teachers arranged the desks in ways that physically distanced from each other, added plexiglass in high traffic/contact areas and plastic partitions in most classrooms, and everyone is required to wear a mask unless eating or drinking.

“All of the new things and rules they have had to add does not make school feel the same at all,” sophomore Mallory Precord said. “But I get why we need all of it to keep the campus safe.”

After a long summer in quarantine, many students longed to get back to a normal schedule to see their friends, learn, and feel productive, though they did not know what to expect once they returned. Broderick came back because she believed it would be easier to learn in a classroom environment rather than being behind a screen. 

I am a visual learner and I like being able to ask questions right then and there in class, when the attention is on you,”

Interacting with the classroom seems to be what students like most with face-to-face, but the new changes have made that challenging. Group work is difficult or impossible in most classes because cardboard and plastic partitions are on each distanced desk to separate students. 

“I wish they[teachers] would put us in groups with them[partitions] up so we can actually talk and discuss things together instead of it being on a discussion board on ecampus,” Precord said. “The most difficult thing is talking through the masks because it can be hard to hear other people when they are talking.”

Outside of the classroom, students are having issues with lunches and the “Lazy River.” Since social distancing is mandated, sitting next to one another during lunch is prohibited, with seats marked with red tape, warning students to stay spread out. In addition, students have to follow the lazy river walkway to have the least amount of traffic and contact around campus. Although the halls are not as crowded because of the reduction in the number of students on campus, trying to remember the route has been difficult. 

Students have been asked to follow the one way arrows around campus, and administrators are present in hallways and courtyards to guide students. 

Lunch, which is normally a social event and a break from all the rules, is now what Rosenblum thinks, very hard. Fitting multiple people at a lunch table is difficult and she can not truly sit next to a friend at lunch. There is so much space between people so it is challenging to seat multiple friends at one table. 

Returning students did not know what to expect from school. This year has its positives and negatives, but just like everyone else, students are doing their best to work with what they have got.

“I would say that things that are going well, teachers are trying to keep you safe by making you wipe things down before and after classes, ensuring social distancing and the use of masks,”  Broderick said. “I’m just trying to go with the flow.”