Return to school stirs up mixed emotion among students

Carlmont+students+walk+to+their+next+class+during+passing+period+after+the+entire+student+body+returned+to+school+in+August+for+the+new+school+year.

Karla Lee

Carlmont students walk to their next class during passing period after the entire student body returned to school in August for the new school year.

The transition to in-person learning after well over a year of online learning has been an abrupt and difficult transition for many Carlmont students and staff.

“Just all of a sudden, you have to sit in this classroom and completely pay attention to the teacher, and you’re being put on the spot and sitting next to a bunch of people,” Isabelle Kraemer, a sophomore at Carlmont, said.

Many students, such as Carlmont sophomore Helen Furman, have decided that the in-person interactions that have occurred since the return of in-person school with other students have greatly improved their mental health as compared to online school, which oftentimes made finding motivation for learning difficult due to social isolation.

“I [prefer] in-person school. I get to connect with more people, and I think it just makes my mental health overall better,” Helen Furman said.

However, many still see benefits to online school. One major benefit of online school was the ability not to have to worry about social standing or fitting in.

“With online, it was just so focused on just education, and that was it, but then with it, you stressed less about other aspects that you had in-person. In-person, it isn’t about just learning. It’s also about socializing, seeing your friends, and keeping up with society’s norms. On Zoom, you have a mute button, you can turn off your camera, and nobody has to see how you look or what you’re doing. It was just less stressful,” Kraemer said.

New health protocols such as the requirement for all students and staff to wear masks while indoors have also become a hindrance for many.

“It’s much harder to help students during lunch or before school because it is hard to teach all day in a mask… 85 minutes is a really long period, so rather than lecturing in person, I had my students use EdPuzzle videos from last year,” Rebecca Pearlman, a math teacher at Carlmont High School, said.

The masking requirement indoors also makes clubs that take place during lunch more difficult to operate than before the pandemic.

“I felt the club environment was a little bit better when we were able to eat inside, so it’s kind of hard for a club leadership member,” Leo Shohet, a senior at Carlmont High School, said.

Carlmont administration also now requires students to bring their laptops to school every day. Many students like the idea of bringing their own laptops to school due to the ease of use and convenience. However, other students, such as Kraemer, have issues with carrying around a heavy laptop all day.

“It hurts my back. Without it, my back is okay because I’m also carrying binders and books. But I think the pros [of having my own laptop] outweigh my back problems,” Kraemer said.

Another issue many students and teachers have brought up is the lack of air conditioning and air purifiers available in every room.

“I wish all the rooms had air conditioning for the safety of students and staff,” Pearlman said.

Despite concerns, overall, many students and staff are excited for the year to come and the reintroduction of in-person learning for the upcoming school year.

“I’m very happy that we’re going back in person, and I really hope that it kind of continues this way because I find it to be a much better learning experience,” Shohet said.

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