Seniors return to four day in-person learning

Ashley Cramer, Writer

     Throughout this extraordinary year, the Norwin School District modified  all aspects of learning. Now that case numbers are down and COVID-19 vaccines are being to be distributed, the district decided to give the option of four day in-person learning to K-4 on Feb. 15 and extended it to  seniors on Feb. 22.

     Just like every other major decision this year, there have been mixed reactions. While some students are excited to come back and finish out their high school career with a more normal schedule, others are concerned about what the reality of going back will be like. 

     “I’m excited to go back,” said Ryan Grabowski. “My motivation is really lacking at home and I would much rather learn in person. Online learning just isn’t for me.”

     Seniors returned to the high school for four day in-person learning on Feb 22. Once again changing the primary learning model forces  a lot of students to have to readjust to a new model yet again this year. 

     “I have chosen to go back four days but I still have mixed emotions about having to go at the beginning and end of the week,” said Josie Toth. “I think it will be a strange adjustment since I am only used to leaving the house for school at the end of the week. It will also be weird to see everyone from the beginning half of the alphabet at the school because I haven’t seen most of them since last March!”

    One of the concerns with increasing numbers in the buildings, is bringing more people into the school more regularly raises the chances of another spike in COVID cases. Despite this  possibility, many seniors chose  to come back in hopes of having a semblance of a normal end of year. 

      “The one thing that worries me is the number of cases and a school closure,” said Dylan Yutzy. “With a graduating class of 400, we’ll end up having 200 more people in the building at a time, which could increase cases and cause a closure, which I think could be detrimental to the rest of our year.”

     In an email on Feb 19. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Taylor confirmed that seniors who opted to take part in returning to a more normal schedule returned  on Monday, Feb 22. For those who chose not to, the district is still offering the Hybrid model and Norwin Online Academy. 

     “We know that in-person instruction provides the best learning opportunities for the overwhelming majority of our students,” said Dr. Taylor in his email on Feb 19. “Now that our K-4 students have returned, it is now time to provide our seniors with additional in-person instruction to prepare them to be college and career-ready after graduation.”

     Many of the seniors who were enrolled in the Norwin Online Academy have chosen to stay online due to the uncertainty of what returning to school could bring. 

     Whether they choose to stay online for health reasons or because they don’t want to have to modify their schedule once again, some online students just don’t see the point in changing something that seems to already be working. 

     “The year is nearly over and I like my routine I have for getting school work done during the week,” said Norwin Online Academy student Katie Baker. “I like having the option to remain online for school, as I like being able to work at my own pace and still know that I’m keeping up with others in my grade. If I was to switch in and out of school I think that would cause me a lot of stress. Of course in a perfect world I would be finishing my senior year with my friends, but for the situation we are in I don’t mind online learning and communicating with my friends over the phone.”

     Having K-4 and seniors return to a more normal schedule is hopefully the first steps in the direction of a normal school year. While we might not see a complete return this year, many people have high hopes for a more normal graduation and prom. 

     “I hope we have prom and graduation even if it’s only seniors,” said Sydney Willig. “That’ll be better than nothing; and honestly as long as I’m with my friends everything will be ok! I’m also hopeful to return to in person school 5 days a week even if it’s only for May. I just want a little normalcy.”

     The plans for the last major events of the year such as graduation, prom and the school play have yet to be unveiled by the school. These staple high school events have been what many students are holding onto in the hopes of having a complete senior year. 

     “I wouldn’t mind not having a prom, but at this point I think we should have a normal graduation ceremony,” said Seth Toops.      

     As the district approaches the end of the year, promising progress towards the recovery from the past year has become more prevalent. Active COVID cases are down and hundreds of students are returning to school, which has shown major promise for the rest of the community. 

     “As always, our goal is to provide a safe, in-person learning environment for students and employees,” said Dr. Taylor as he signed out his email to district families on Feb 19.