Isolated Introductions

Empty halls flood campus as the school year kicks off with distanced learning

Photo credits: Photography Manager, Andrew Lacroix

As COVID-19 covers the land globally, America fell victim to its path earlier in the Spring. With students and teachers swiftly needing to formulate lesson plans to finish out the academic year, the question of the return to tradition “in-school” learning flooded the empty halls of the Jaguar country.

The 2020-2021 school year slowly crept up on the staff and students, and the transition to the new normal of quarantining to remote learning creates the challenge for many. Despite the voting system based on how the structure of learning would go, for the first time in the history of Coral Glades, since the opening in 2004, students and teachers would face the ominous truth that for at least the beginning months of the year, in-person learning rights would be revoked.

Many teachers opted in commuting to the school in order to begin teaching lessons from the comfort and ambiance of the classroom. One of the factors that ultimately changed the perspective of the year, making it seem almost unreal: the lack of activity in the hallways. Now, completely remote, the class transition does not occur. Hallways standstill with the deafening silence of an unfriendly reminder of what the virus has caused.

“I do miss being in a physical classroom with students since it does offer more personalization and opportunities to connect with each other. Plus, I would like to know what my students actually look like this year,” Ms. Blaise, English teacher, said.

I think the benefit of virtual learning is that it has forced me to look into the digital resources we have available and see how they can be incorporated into lessons.”

— English Teacher Jennifer Blaise

There are some things that can definitely be incorporated from the virtual environment to enhance the physical classroom, but I would like to go back when it is safe to do so.”

Students as well face the struggle of assimilating to this new style in their education. For many, this is their final year, and the most important moments are altered because of this alteration. Seniors most specifically battle how to efficiently and completely send out college applications without the help of the guidance counselors, like many would in the previous years.

“Despite having limited access to guidance during the application process is inconvenient, we still have the opportunity to get in contact and have one-on-one virtual communication to receive help. As long as we put in a little more effort during these times we do have opportunities.”

— senior Ameer Murtadha

 

 Students academia unofficially placed on pause, social aspects of the school year have as well. The hallways that would once flood with club meeting posters and school spirit leading up to spirit weeks and homecoming remain empty with the bare walls of last year when all of the previous posters were removed.

Sometimes, when students learned in school, the hallways became the sole place for reconnection between peers prior, in between, and post-class sessions. Now, students remain in the same area of their homes clicking onto new Teams Microsoft Meetings, hoping to enter the conference call before a potential wifi outage.

“I miss [having the ability] to see my friends in person [in the hallways],” junior Matthew Williams, said. “Although I feel like I am not able to see or talk to new people, [as well as] make new friends, I feel like this transition to remote learning has not affected me socially, but I do miss that aspect of the school day and hope it will be reintroduced in the near future with the proper precautions.”

With talks of potentially returning back to school further on in the fall, still many students feel discomfort in the uncertainty.

“At first, the uncertainty made me feel apprehensive, due to it being our senior year and we are supposed to cherish these last moments with our friends, teachers, and peers,” senior Sheila Jara said. “However, as time continues to pass the less anxious I have become because I know everything will work out the way it is supposed to. I do hope we return at some point, so I can ‘Flex my Fits’ one last time in the hallways.”

Despite the outcome that the school district decides on with regard to allowing the students to return back to school, the ambiance of the hallways, though crowded and rowdy, will forever be the soul for where friendships are created and are a crucial part of a school year.