Then vs. Now: School Life

How has school changed compared to pre-COVID?

Daniel Botolino, Staff Writer

The year 2020 has been one for the ages. With so much chaos this year, students and teachers headed back to school or the first time since March hoping for just a little bit of normalcy. But normalcy is not what they have gotten. Desks had been moved, posters taken down, and hand sanitizer installed at every corner. The school has changed so much that it is nearly impossible to compare it to what it was like before the pandemic. But, let’s do it anyway.

The first thing you notice when you walk into the school is that there are not as many students. To maintain social distancing, the school has created cohorts with kids either coming to school Monday and Tuesday (cohort A), Thursday and Friday (cohort B), all four days (cohort C), or working all online (cohort D). Being all online is the most unique option, and it’s something that sophomore Sara Baumghait has had to adapt to. Her mother chose to put her in cohort D due to the fact she works in health care.

Baumghait says that the most different part of being all online is “having to teach yourself more and teachers not being able to explain things to you in detail…”

However, she said not everything is different; “The amount of work is probably the same.” Also “she said, just having a routine and having a time where you enter class and do your work has been the same.”

Baumghait also says that there are some pluses to being all online. She likes being able to manage her time more as well as being able to stay safe.

As challenging as this new life has been for students, it has been just as tough for teachers. Christy Salley is an English teacher who, just like her colleagues, has had to learn how to teach through technology.

“The biggest change for me has been in the delivery of the curriculum,” she said.

Another struggle Salley has faced is trying to connect the students online with the students in person.

“I try to get discussion going between the kids at home and the kids in school and at times there’s a gulf there that’s hard to bridge,” said Salley.

Another change in the way she teaches is how she motivates students. Salley says she used to have food parties which not only would motivate the kids to do well, it would bring the students together making them feel more comfortable around each other.

Similar to Baumghait, not everything caused by the pandemic has been bad for Salley’s classes. Salley has been pleasantly surprised by how the staff has come together.

“I have seen so much comradery among the staff and people are going out of their way to help others…” she also says “this incredible challenging situation has brought us together as a staff…”

When talking about COVID-19, the senior class is in a different situation than every other grade.

“For me, the most difficult part is simply not having a normal senior year, not having the joys and events of a typical senior year,” said senior Liam Inghrahm.

He says that it can be tough on some people not having a senior year like classes of the past. For example, lunch has been altered. In the past, underclassmen ate in the main cafeteria while upperclassmen ate in the junior/senior cafeteria. Now with multiple new lunch locations and every student in a different spot, Inghrahm feels it has been strange.

“For me, probably the biggest change is the lunches… the overall atmosphere and vibe of the atmosphere is completely different,” he said.

An encouraging thing is that most students and teachers have been able to find a bright spot to this dark situation. For Inghram it is the mask that breaks. He said it feels it is good to take his mask off, but more than that it gives him a chance to take a mental break, something students could not do pre-pandemic.