Eight months after their last in-person classes, students returned back to South High for a hybrid learning experience on November 10, 2020. Two months later, on Jan. 19, 2021 students again returned back to South High for a 4-day-a-week in-person learning schedule. A total of 10 months went by before students were able to return for a fully in-person learning experience once again.
Although not all the students of South high went back to school in-person in January. The Parkway School District continued to offer a full-time virtual learning experience for those students who wanted that choice. As for others, in-person classes did not last as long as one might hope, as Covid exposure quarantining started to spread across the school.
For some South High students like senior Mia Hackworth, in-person learning was a no-brainer decision. If it was being offered, kids were going to go back to school.
“I chose in-person learning because I enjoy seeing my friends and my teachers every day. I don’t like how isolated virtual learning makes you feel,” she said.
As for Hackworth, fully in-person didn’t last too long at first. February 2021, she was placed into quarantine for COVID-19 exposure, when her dad at tested positive for COVID-19.
When students are quarantined they are on house-arrest from school, for 14 days. Students are required to do all virtual school and are not allowed to participate in any school-based activities as well. Although, she is back in-person now.
While South High did have a few months where some students were having to quarantine due to COVID exposure earlier this year, according to the Parkway Health Dashboard, there are currently no positive COVID-19 cases at South High, and fewer than 10 South High students are in quarantine.
“The biggest challenge from being in-person back again to virtual was that I couldn’t see my friends every day,” Hackworth said.
Sophie Ni, a freshman, was one of the many Parkway students who chose to participate in virtual school instead of going back in person when offered on January 19th. She is in the Virtual Academy, meaning that she has been doing distance learning all school year.
“I chose virtual learning because of COVID-19,” Ni said.
There are benefits and disadvantages to being fully online, she said.
“The best part is not having to ask teachers for permission to eat or go use the restroom. The hardest part is trying to stay forced and not procrastinating,” she said.
As for junior Mia Hadziselimovic, she chose in-person learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year and said she has not had to quarantine yet.
“I chose in-person learning because it helps me learn better when I’m in-person and I am more of a visual learner,” she said.
As for being back in school students have found both positives to being virtual and being back in person. Or at least their favorite aspects of both.
“I do miss some parts of virtual learning like sleeping in and not having so much work assigned but I think being in-person is just better for me because I do learn visually. My favorite thing about being back in-person is that I get to see my friends every day, and also just being back in the school environment,” Hadziselimovic said.
As much as students like to complain, overall many do miss being in school with an in-person learning experience.
“The thing I missed the most about being in-person was seeing my friends and teachers every day and being able to have face-to-face conversations with them,” Hackworth said.