A social connection

After year of being remote, students reflect on in-person school 

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Photo by Braylen Garren

A student works on a laptop during school in the dark. Many people this year are readjusting to the in-person learning environment.

Story by Nashita Kalam, Staff Writer

It’s the first day coming back to school after being remote the previous school year. The chaotic crowds are overwhelming compared to the solidarity that became isolated students’ new normal. 

Nothing is the same as before: waking up at 6:30 everyday and following the same tedious routine five days a week, having classes in a cold, hard desk chair instead of a comfortable bed and laptop, talking face-to-face instead of over the phone and dealing with the social anxieties that come with attending high school.

Remote learning was a new concept for TISD last year because of the COVID-19 outbreak that started in March of 2020. For the 2020-2021 school year, families had the choice of choosing whether or not they would send their child to in-person school.

“[Being remote] really wasn’t my choice,” sophomore Lyric Curtis said. “My mom chose it for me because around eighth grade when [school] got shut down, my mom got COVID. She was afraid of me getting COVID and not being vaccinated, so she told me that I was going to be online for most of the year and possibly try to go back around the end of the year.”

On the other hand, some students chose on their own to go remote to keep their loved ones safe.

“I chose to go online because of the COVID cases and wanting to stay safe for my mom,” sophomore Kady Russell said.

Some remote learners felt that in-person school was much better than remote learning because they found it was easier to learn and communicate with teachers. However, due to circumstances at the moment, they would go back online if given the choice.

“Now, [I would] probably [choose] online school,” Curtis said. “I’m kind of back and forth with it because the COVID cases are rising, so I’m afraid of the school getting shut down again. Being in school, I really think it allows people to get social interaction and help with their grades. It’s all we’ve ever really known, so people are more comfortable with it.”

Coming back to school has also helped students’ grades. Teachers and peers are more accessible now, so learning and understanding is much easier. Not everything is on a screen, and there are more hands-on activities. 

“[Coming back on campus has] absolutely [helped my grades],” sophomore Truth Dukes said. “I think [remote learning is harder] because you’re not able to learn hands on or learn by seeing your teachers or do projects and everything’s typed on the computer. And so it’s easy to cheat. It [was] easy to not learn.”

Being in isolation for so long can affect students’ social life and social skills due to students barely leaving their house. The only interactions they had were with the family they lived with. The only way they talked to their friends was through text, FaceTime and social media.

“My social life definitely has [been affected]. You’re so used to not having to talk to anybody other than your parents or your siblings or whoever’s in your house,” Dukes said. “When it’s in person, you can have conversations with people. You can talk more about different things because I went to talk to my parents about everything.”

Something almost all remote learners could agree on is that on campus classes are much better compared to being isolated and doing everything on a screen.

“[Coming back on campus is] more of a refreshing feeling. Considering I was online for most of the school year, I didn’t get to really interact with anyone or see my friends or really get to know my teachers or anyone, so it was kind of difficult at the beginning of the year to adapt to that,” Curtis said. “But when I did come back at the end of last year and into this year, I feel more connected with my teachers and my peers and I’m glad that I can have that in-person interaction instead of through a screen or a video call. It helps me a lot more to be able to talk to someone face-to-face, rather than online.”