Mixed reactions over return to fully virtual learning

After+finally+welcoming+students+back+to+classrooms+after+8+months+away%2C+NPHS+will+be+closing+down+once+again+beginning+Monday%2C+November+23rd.

Connor Niszczak

After finally welcoming students back to classrooms after 8 months away, NPHS will be closing down once again beginning Monday, November 23rd.

TOWAMENCIN- On November 9th, North Penn School District officially opened its doors for 3rd to 12th grade students for the first time of the 2020-2021 academic year. While wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart, and only reporting in-person for their designated H1 or H2 days, students were finally able to see their friends, meet their teachers, and get back to some sense of normalcy amidst a pandemic which, since that fateful day in March, has turned our worlds up-side down. Unfortunately, it seems as though our aspirations for a successful rest of the school year may have become a bit tattered as the district prepares for a two week return to all-virtual learning. 

Over the past two weeks, students have gotten to experience hybrid learning, something new to students and staff. Although its still not the ideal school day, many students have come to appreciate it. 

“I have enjoyed being back to school for hybrid. I really enjoyed getting to talk to my teachers in person, having a more personal connection with them, and I feel like its a lot easier to speak up and ask questions about the material and understand it better when you’re able to actually be there, rather than just through a screen,” senior Hannah Worthington remarked.

I feel like its a lot easier to speak up and ask questions about the material and understand it better when you’re able to actually be there, rather than just through a screen.”

— Hannah Worthington, NPHS Senior

Last Friday, the Montgomery Country Board of Health mandated that all K-12 schools close for two weeks beginning on November 23rd. The news was upsetting to many, with those opposed to the ruling gathering outside Montco Commissioner Val Arkoosh’s home last Saturday to protest. Not only does this decision affect parents, but it most especially has an impact on the students and teachers throughout the county. 

“I feel like we just got back into a good weekly schedule and it started to feel normal again. But, now we are going back to the virtual setting”, senior Tabytha McLaughlin said. 

The move to virtual is disappointing for many, and it seemed that students were just getting back to some form of a normal school life during a year that’s been anything but that. We will still have our normal classes, and besides not getting back that relaxing mid-day break, virtual learning is now becoming a more normal occurrence. 

Being in the classroom with actual real-life students was amazing, and I forgot how much I missed it.”

— Mrs. Elizabeth Weizer, NPHS English teacher

“Part of me is excited to not have a commute, and be able to have unlimited access to coffee. But on the other hand, being in the classroom with actual real-life students was amazing and I forgot how much I missed it,” English teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Weizer reflected. 

During the next two weeks, all in-person activities must be cancelled. This includes winter sports, which were scheduled to start on the 23rd for most athletes. The beginning of the season is when a lot of important training happens, and many are worried about how this will impact the rest of their season. 

With COVID cases being the highest they’ve ever been and the North Penn area’s positivity rate spiking, some hopes could be dwindling for a hybrid school year, as the potential for breaks like these to become more long-term increases. Overall, this will greatly impact the students, athletes, and teachers at North Penn. 

“It’s already being cut back and last spring our whole season was taken away, which was very sad. I didn’t expect to be losing any season at all. I didn’t really start actually having a passion for this sport until sophomore year, so to lose a whole season and possibly another season would just be so heartbreaking”, noted senior Izzy Dahms, who is a part of the Girls Track and Field team. 

Heartbreaking truly seems to be the word to describe losing this school year, especially for those who have yet to experience all North Penn has to offer, and for the seniors set to graduate this year. But right now, all we have is hope and the knowledge that we will make whatever we are handed work to the best of our abilities. 

“If this break lasts longer than two weeks, I’ll be ok.  Any amount of shutdown is for the safety of the community, which has to be our priority.  Meanwhile I’ll keep doing my best to teach science,” Science teacher Mr. John Collier explained.