2020 School Experience: 3 Different Perspectives


Meghan Norman

School looks different this year but it seems that each school is working towards getting everyone back in the building and rebuilding the school experience.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic every school has a slightly different way of opening, or lack thereof. In a state such as Delaware where there is no absolute ruling, schedules vary from completely open to completely virtual.

Amna Hayat is a freshman at Wilmington Charter, a school which has only been hosting classes virtually. As far as schedule and structure of the day, school days end at twelve.

“I personally don’t like that but some do; individually we do not have as much time on Google Meets and so then we have time for independent class work,” Hayat said.

Learning online can make subjects tougher to tackle.

“You still can’t get a lot from it because they can’t do hands-on because it’s online and it’s very hard to enforce things like having cameras on and you really need to be able to self-study,” said Hayat.

Virtual learning has brought different strengths and weaknesses out of different people.

“I think I lost a lot of my self-accountability because I’m not really learning anything and I’m just submitting things by 11:59,” said Hayat.

On a more positive note, Hayat has been able to pursue hobbies in her free time and use the time during the day that is not consumed by classes to become closer with family.

Besides learning to adapt to schedule changes, Hayat has noticed how some things done in school could be made more efficient.

“[We] spend a lot of time wasted in school so it’s shown me that it can be done a lot more compactly,” said Hayat.

Online learning is definitely different from their normal schedule.

“My sleep schedule is trashed and I was a lot happier because I had to go somewhere and do something,” said Hayat.

Throughout the school year the social dynamic has become more regimented, especially when you have never seen your peers face to face.

For Hayat the school experience doesn’t always seem like she is starting a new chapter.

“Sometimes I wake up and I think I will be going back to my old school,” she said. “I am not enjoying my school experience. I do not look forward to anything school-wise anymore.”

For Wilmington Charter there is not option to participate in activities in the classroom. Hayat says that she would feel comfortable going into the building if all regulations were enforced but would stop if people were not wearing masks and staying six feet apart.

In relevance to the whole school experience, Hayat has noticed that this year’s school situation could impact next year.

“If this school year finishes virtually, I’m assuming that we will have to make friends and things then and it will be harder for the teachers to add to their curriculum from what we didn’t learn this year, and it will be sort of disorienting and like freshman year again,” said Hayat.

A large goal for schools this year has been to get students back in the building. Meghan Norman is a Padua freshman and has been adjusting to the hybrid method at a new school.

Going into this school year Norman was expecting to be home for some portion of the year, but she also expected to be spending some time engaging in online classes. Comparing school as we are used to versus a hybrid schedule, Norman has adjusted well.

Not being able to go into school five days a week and get directions from teachers is difficult, but the more challenging part would be stepping into an entirely different school. Norman stated that she would find it easier going to a school she had previously been to because she would know the people and the building.

Here’s a look at how schools  across the United States are reopening amid the pandemic. (Ruth O. ’24)

As a whole, Norman says she would reflect on hybrid learning in a less than positive way.

“[It’s] a bump in the road because I learn better in person and it’s pretty much teaching yourself,” said Norman.

Although the environment at school is not ideal, Norman remarked that it does seem to be effective.

The idea of hybrid learning is somewhat new, only starting to be used at the beginning of this school year. Norman said that in a more relaxed setting than school, she would have mixed feelings about it.

“I wouldn’t say I would criticize it but I also wouldn’t be positive about it because you don’t get to see your friends, but it is good for time management and teaches you how to teach yourself,” said Norman.

As a freshman Norman’s experience has definitely changed.

“… There is half of the class that hasn’t met and we can’t do the traditions like Big Sister Little Sister that we would do in person and can’t do,’’ said Norman.

As for her time in the building Norman has had a good experience at Padua so far.

“All of the teachers seem as positive as they did last year and so do the girls like the upperclassmen,” said Norman.

Another form of school that is less common is in-person school. Phoebe Quinn-Plemmons is a freshman at Tower Hill and participates in fully in-person school. She described regulations as being pretty standard in comparison to other schools. However, Tower hill has added some additional space in order to accommodate social distancing regulations.

Quinn-Plemmons likes being able to attend in person so that she is able to socialize and participate more in class discussions. She also noted that her biggest fault in dealing with the new schedule is learning to adjust to all of the waiting.

Keeping organized is also very important for Quinn-Plemonns. Some of the most important tools for her this school year have been organization-based.

“My schedule [is important] because without it I would not know where I was supposed to be,” Quinn-Plemmons.

One way Tower Hill keeps track of cases when they pop up is testing.

“We require mandatory testing so that if cases do pop up we will see them quickly,” said Quinn-Plemmons.

The social scene during the pandemic has definitely changed in one way or another.

“You can’t hang out with people so I haven’t been trying as much in the ‘friend department’ so I’ve been spending more time so I learned how to paint,” said Quinn-Plemmons.

Quinn-Plemmons also noted that if speaking to a person who was not sure whether or not to come in she would suggest that the student explore all options and foremostly stay safe.

“I’d say they are doing a good job at making sure everyone is making sure there is social distancing and always wearing mask,” Quinn-Plemmons said, “and it’s ultimately their decision but it’s safe if they want to come back.”