Feelings on the Full Return to In-person School

Delaney O’Hara

It is astonishing that the full return back to campus has come so fast yet slow. Coming back to campus has definitely been a big shift since we were on online school for almost a year. Personally it was really difficult to adjust since I adapted so well to working at home, and the transition was hard. However, personally the pros weighed out the cons. I was able to ask a variety of students (day and boarding) and faculty members about the return to campus and I primarily focus on these 4 questions: 

  1. What were your feelings about returning back to full in-person School? Why?
  2. Did you find yourself quickly adapting to in person school again quickly? Why or why not? 
  3. Since we have been at school for a while now do you miss being at home?
  4. What were you best excited about for school and something you weren’t looking forward to?

Let’s take a closer look at what Becca P. ’21, Nazo O. ’23, Tatum H. ’24, and Jason Henkle (Faculty) have to say about the return to full in-person school:

  1. What were your feelings about returning back to full in-person School? Why?

Becca P. ’21 (Day Student): I was a little worried because it’s been so long since I’ve been around lots of people, and I’m definitely worse at socializing now. I was also happy that things were starting to get back to normal because COVID was improving. I didn’t not want to wake up earlier though hahaha

Nazo O. ’23 (Boarding student):  I feel returning back to school  would be a great opportunity for the new students to adapt with a new system of learning different from the one they have learnt

Tatum H. ’24 (Day Student): At first I was kinda freaked out and was not excited. I didn’t want to start waking up early and the idea of going to school every single day made me uncomfortable.

Jason Henkle (Faculty): In terms of Covid I was a bit nervous at first. Initially it was a little unclear if the vaccination timing was going to work out.  It seemed like there might be a chance that we would be in-person before teachers could get vaccinated.  Luckily I was able to get vaccinated beforehand though so that relieved much of that nervousness.  Despite those initial Covid reservations, I was looking forward to being in-person again.  It’s just more fun and natural to be in class in-person than it is on Zoom.  Plus I can way more easily get a sense for how students are doing and more quickly help out when I can see their work in-person, in real time.  That’s been really nice.

  1. Did you find yourself quickly adapting to in person school again quickly? Why or why not? 

Becca P. ’21: It was definitely weird at first and I felt really exhausted, but now I feel pretty adjusted, but it’s still weird cause it’s not completely regular school. I feel a lot busier and I forgot how long school days and extracurriculars can feel.

Nazo O. ’23: No not really especially because we are used to being comfortable in our homes learning.

Tatum H. ’24: After like a week it felt normal again. It was like everything was back to normal and even though there’s masks and 3 ft rules and all the covid guidelines it’s really nice to have some sense of normalcy back.

Jason Henkle: Actually, yes.  Sure, there was all the new tech, the OWLS, having some students Zoom in to in-person classes, keeping track of what students in-person vs those at home can see and hear, etc.  That’s taken a little getting used to and is still a work in progress.  Other than that though, I think it has really felt quite normal.  Having a discussion about a concept in-person is just so much more natural than it is on Zoom; it’s been nice to settle back into that.

  1. Since we have been at school for a while now do you miss being at home?

Becca P. ’21: I miss certain aspects like sleeping in, but I also enjoy getting to see my friends everyday and have in-person discussions, so I’m happy with in-person right now.

Nazo O. ’23: No not really. It’s always fun to be in school learning with your friends

Tatum H. ’24: I think the only thing I really miss about being at home is being able to do school from your bed and not having to get ready.   

Jason Henkle: I think school in-person has been much more fun and much better for students.  Just chit chatting with students and listening to them interact more with each other than what happened on Zoom has been really refreshing.  So overall no, I don’t miss teaching from home much.  There are a few specific things that I do miss though.  Not needing to commute and getting to drop my kids off at their school in the morning was really nice.  Being able to easily grab a snack from the kitchen when I wanted was pretty great.  It was also nice to pop outside and get a little bounce time in on my kids’ trampoline when I needed a little break too.  We bought a trampoline at the beginning of the pandemic so we’d have something fun and active to do outside with our kids while being stuck at home.  It was totally a purchase for me too though. 

  1. What were you most excited about for school and something you weren’t looking forward to?

Becca P. ’21: I definitely learn better in-person than on zoom and I missed some people, but I also don’t like how long the classes are and the lack of breaks.

Nazo O. ’23: I was most looking forward to being in class with friends

Tatum H. ’24: I was most excited about getting to see the people in the other cohort. I was also excited to meet all the new kids and see the people that I haven’t seen in a year. I was not looking forward to having to get up every day and sit through 100 minute blocks.

Jason Henkle: The thing I was most looking forward to was getting to easily see students’ work and getting to talk with them about it in real time.  That’s a big part of how I like to teach math.  On Zoom it was really hard to see how students were solving a problem as they were solving it unless it was a one on one meeting.  I wasn’t looking forward to needing to commute again.  The commute itself isn’t so bad.  Having that little bit of extra time in the morning and afternoon was a nice treat though.

Overall there are some clear trends about the return to full in-person school. The social aspect of school is a common similarity between all the people that were interviewed. That said, there was also a clear pattern that being able to sleep in is something that students miss.