District returns to five-day, in-person schooling

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Marissa Lammie

Students socially distanced in Mr. Cole Eged’s English 11 class continue in-person learning while others stay at home and learn virtually.

Leannah Messenger, Editorial Editor

On April 6, 2021, Freedom students and teachers returned to five-day in-person instruction. All students had the opportunity to return to this full face-to-face instruction, while virtual attendance of classes was still an option for those who would prefer to stay home. Most of the teachers have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and COVID-19 cases were below the threshold for substantial spread when the decision to return in-person was made. The school asked that students try to stay as consistent as possible with their attendance, so staying fully in-person or fully online was the optimal decision.

While many people have been waiting to come back to school five days a week, there are also many concerns with so many people being in the building. Students and teachers alike are still asked to be very careful, and take regard to all of the safety precautions set in place. From up and down staircases to spread out the movement of students, hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass and so much more, the school is fully prepared for this return in person. However, keeping everyone safe takes the concern of everyone involved, meaning everyone needs to do their part. 

“I’m really excited to have everyone back in school for in-person learning,” Principal William Deal said, “It’s a step toward school feeling ‘normal’ again, but we know there are many parts of our pandemic procedures that will probably be in place for a while into the future as well. We know that socialization is an important aspect of learning, so I’m glad students will be able to be learning alongside their peers again.” 

With so many students back to school completely in-person, classes have begun to re-adapt to the “normal” way of school life. Many activities that may have been pushed back due to online schooling can be done or adapted for those students still at home and the majority in school. The stress level for students is also hoped to go down, now that they are back in person, being that online school took a major toll on students’ stress levels and mental health. With more opportunities to seek help for schoolwork, among other things, students feel less of a strain to get work done without help or complete understanding. 

Some teachers stayed virtual for the majority of the year, teaching at home, and are just now coming back as the school opens 5-days a week in person. One of these teachers includes Ms. Heather Giammaria, who has been virtual all year, until now. 

“I’m having a really great time so far being able to carry on real conversations. Everyone struggled to be heard, between the in-class and online kids, so we didn’t get to talk nearly as much as we usually do,” Giammaria said.

Coming back to school has its pros and cons, and many see this opportunity in different lights. The main hope is that the school remains open, and there are no major shutdowns. Many schools have been recently struggling with staying in school once they go back full time, and the hope is that students can stay until the end of the year. 

“I would encourage everyone to stay positive and to do all they can to pick each other up. We’ve all had a huge range of experiences and emotions throughout this pandemic. We may never know how big a difference a kind word or gesture makes in someone’s life,” Deal said.