Why are students choosing in-person learning?


Photo by: Kyle Reeder

Sophomore class council members Patterson Summers, Caroline Pickels, and Kate Grillot welcome students back to in-person instruction.

The Chesterfield County School Board recently announced that middle and high school students will have the option to return to in-person school every day beginning Tuesday, March 9.  As soon as the news dropped, students took to social media to connect with friends regarding their plans. Some students, slightly-discouraged from the previous hybrid learning back in November, are now choosing not to return because of their low expectations for in-person learning. When students were in the classroom in November for hybrid learning, there were a few moments of awkwardness.  “Lunches were weird because it was in the aux gym and everyone was so spaced out and quiet that you could hear a conversation from the opposite side of the room,” sophomore Ryland Holdren said.  The number of students who attended in-person dwindled by the day, until COVID cases rose, forcing schools to close.  With this experience still vivid in the minds of students, many choose not to relive it.  According to principal Dr. Shawn Abel, fewer than fifty percent of total students will return to school.

Sophmore class council members Aaron Liu, Camryn Turner, and Kyle Reeder welcome students back to in-person instruction.

According to most students, one of the biggest drawbacks to returning to school is the requirement of plastic face shields in addition to face masks, when coming closer than six feet to people for longer than 15 minutes.  Senior Jacob Reeder decided to stay virtual. “It’s my last year here and I don’t wanna spend my last year sitting in a face shield,” Reeder said. Sophomore Reese Abplanalp can relate. “We are already more than halfway through the school year and would only have three months left if we were to all go back in March. I feel like it would also be harder to transition back to school now rather than starting in person next year,” Abplanalp said.

Seniors, however, have a greater choice at hand.  With school rounding the end of the third marking period, seniors find themselves almost complete with school, and able to relax without having to stress about assignments and classwork. Some seniors see the return to in-person learning as one last chance to spend time with friends before college life.  Others, however, see the return as pointless, since they have completed all the necessary credits. “I’m coming back in-person because having the opportunity to get up, get dressed, and go outside gives me a sense of motivation and purpose that virtual learning doesn’t give me,” senior Nicole Rizzo said.

Sophomore Skylar Cadell feels that virtual learning hasn’t done her justice. “I am going back to school.  I’ve had a really hard time focusing in online classes which makes learning overall a lot harder.  I’ve just found myself going on my phone during class and then looking through recordings of class later, in pure honesty,” Cadell said.  Whether students choose to stay virtual or change to in-person instruction, each option will be accredited with quality learning time from the teacher.