Going Back to School Four Days a Week
By: Katie Payne
At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, every student started in a virtual learning environment in their own home. This completely virtual learning experience turned every student’s world upside down. The routine was adapted and tweaked until students at Wheaton North had gotten used to a new way of learning. Students were forced to adapt and learn in a setting that was completely foreign, so it is no surprise that when in-person learning was made possible many students were eager to return back.
In the fall, the district was approved to send students back for two days a week in-person learning with the other two days online. Now, in the spring, many students have been offered the option to attend in-person school four days a week. The chance to do so was a great opportunity for students who cherish an in-person learning environment. It was clear that everyone was glad to be back, even if it was much different than in previous years.
On March 15th, many sophomores were invited to come back for four days a week and jumped at the opportunity. Tommy Drabik (‘23) expressed his excitement, stating, “actually making relationships with other students and teachers is much better than looking at school from a screen.” Getting the chance to form relationships with peers and teachers is a large part of what most students were missing. I had also asked him if he felt that in-person school for four days a week was a good return to a “normal” school year. He said, “I think this is a great return to normalcy, and I can’t wait for the day to see everyone return to school in the future, maybe even five days a week!” Tommy’s enthusiasm is felt throughout the halls of the school, and with about 200 more students back as of March 15, North feels more normal.
Another view that was expressed was the shock of how students at Wheaton North had juggled two or three activities, after-school clubs, and simply going to school for five full days a week. Instead of going to school from 7:20- 2:15 on Wednesdays, students now get to stay home and complete their assignments when they find them suitable. Ellie Bergeron ‘23 says “I have no idea how I went to school five days a week and did activities.” Asynchronous Wednesdays are something students love. Getting to pace yourself on Wednesdays, and not having to wake up at the crack of dawn, is something that has helped students slow down and have a little more time to themselves.
Overall, Wheaton North students are extremely grateful to be back. The measures that have been put in place to make every effort for students to be back are recognized and appreciated.