In the spring of 2020, I and other eighth-graders were excited about trips to Disney, end-of-schoolyear events, and an exciting year ahead in high school when suddenly COVID hit. The pandemic caused everything to come to a screeching halt, canceling trips, concerts, and in-person school. In Fall 2020, what was supposed to be a fun, exciting, and potentially nerve-wracking first year of high school turned into a bleak year of online learning.
Fast-forward to Fall 2021, and we’re getting ready to go back to in-person learning after almost a year and a half-long roller coaster ride. I am excited about the possibility of going back to school in person, and I’m very interested to see how things will unfold.
“I am looking forward to socializing with my friends and getting back into a real classroom environment,” Ilyaas Motiwalla, a rising sophomore and Issaquah Highlands resident, said.
Like Ilyaas, I am excited to attend classes with my friends and have human interaction. In addition, I look forward to school socials, concerts, and football games.
I am a bit concerned about the delta variant and its impact on in-person learning. I also wonder what school will be like with everyone wearing a mask and social distancing. These and other unknowns make the exciting opportunity to return to school quite daunting.
Online school may be an option for students who want to stay remote. In my mind, learning remotely has many advantages and disadvantages. While learning remotely could be a good option for anyone with pre-existing health conditions who is not able to get vaccinated, it’s worth noting there are other advantages. Students can easily access their school environment with a click of a laptop. Also, there is no pressure to get up early to catch the bus, dress up to impress or pack a backpack.
Learning remotely might not be for everyone.
“At first, [remote learning] might sound like a good idea to students; however, students can’t talk to their friends, socialize with others, and make new friends,” Rohan Sriram, rising high school senior and Issaquah Highlands resident, said.
Technical issues, whether with at-home Wi-Fi or the school Canvas board, caused a great deal of stress for some students and teachers. In my opinion, remote learning has been detrimental to mental health.
No matter what we plan for the new school year, unpredictability is our “new normal” and we are good at adapting to change. We will survive and figure out a way to thrive in the face of adversity and challenges. Let’s make this school year one to be remembered and celebrated.
Arya Mahajan is a tenth-grader, Highlands Youth Advisory Board member, and Issaquah Highlands resident.