The idea of going back to school has both its highs, lows, and optimism


Mishal Nizar

Students are now going back to school in remote learning at home.

Nothing makes August more interesting than seeing Walmart or Target putting up ‘back to school’ supplies for sale. However, this year’s situation is shooting way past normality in both a positive and also a negative light.

Even though District 204 pushed the first day of school to September 3rd, staff, students, and families were still unsure of what to expect. Information and speculation are thrown left and right amongst the community. Here we are approaching the third week of school and there is still uneasiness around the idea of remote learning.

“The challenges that we’ve had are related to both what is in the best interest of the health and safety of all of our stakeholders,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the 204 high schools Michael Purcell said. “It’s not just our kids, but also our teachers, and the school staff and the families our kids go home to.” 

District 204, have been trying to balance being cautious of the pandemic while also serving the educational needs of the students. At first, the district released a statement that allowed parents to register their children in either the A/B schedule or Online Academy for the first semester.

“I had a pretty strong opinion on remote learning, because during that time it’s pretty naive of somebody to think that we should go back to school when you can go to school with a bunch of people that don’t even know they have the [COVID-19],” junior Nethra Yuvaraj said.

It is important that teachers give the help students need, especially with the remote learning in place. Sometimes, we miss the connection between the students and the teachers when learning the material.

— Kat Viloria

When the district released the two different choices (hybrid school schedule versus the online academy) in July, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and that was the hybrid. I wanted to see my peers and have that high school experience all over again. However, my parents begged to differ. It was overwhelming for me to really figure out what I wanted to do, because I was ignorant about what the pandemic was. I have never tested positive. Therefore, I could not speak on behalf of those who have encountered that by saying that going back to school is okay.

Ultimately, the district decided to keep everyone in remote learning until Oct. 30. Yes, we do stay online at home but that does not mean forever. Although in remote learning, the district enforced the split schedule whereas the hybrid option was treated as a regular school day so it’s like the best of both worlds.

“I really like the split schedule, where you have the A and B days,” junior Paige Baffes said. “[However,] I think some classes should balance the work more because we end up not really doing much in class and then we get all kinds of homework.”

Based on my experiences, I would have to agree that there may be overwhelming work to go along with the one hour lesson we have to sit through. However, I have seen that some teachers are beginning to offer extra time and support in class. Also, having the 30-minute Monday classes for everyone can be very effective for finalizing the material of that week.

It is important that teachers give the help students need, especially with the remote learning in place. Sometimes, we miss the connection between the students and the teachers when learning the material.

“My favorite part of teaching has always been the students,” English teacher Megan Cherne said.  It’s always been getting to work with people. Teaching is a profession of people, connections, and relationships.” 

Aside from the pandemic, life in general just has its pros and cons. I think that this is the lifestyle that we have to adhere to in remote learning. At times, it can be difficult, but I think one of the most important and effective things is communication. Everybody needs to understand through communication and offer compassion, because remote learning is not easy at all. Whether you are a teacher or student, we collectively share the same goals and follow through the same learning process.

“I don’t think much has changed in regard to the students being the best part of the job,” Cherne said. “Honestly, everyone was so understanding, kind, thoughtful, and compassionate. I had a moment of like, ‘We can do this.’”