Out With the New, In With the Old

Students are returning to their ancient ways, meaning they will attend school and learn in-person five days a week.


Students brainstorm on the board during class. Photo taken by Amy Morgan.

Grace Knight

Students will be returning to school five days a week for the first time in over a year starting next Monday, March 22. They are moving from a hybrid model where they only experience in-person learning two times a week, so this is a big change for everyone involved. 

“I believe the social and emotional benefits [of returning to school full-time] will be good for some of our students,” principal Steven Loe said. Attending school online for such a long time has caused many students to lose interest in social interactions or even learning altogether. 

“Schools were built for students and I miss having them here. It changes the dynamic of a classroom in a good way,” teacher Janet Carter said. Learning in-person for the full five days a week will allow students to interact with their peers and teachers more often.

“The number one benefit on all students going back full-time is the amount of in-class time will quadruple,” Loe said. Giving students more class time can help lessen the amount of confusion and questions that online learning brought and it can also help develop personal connections within the classroom. All students who chose in-person learning are finally getting to experience some sense of normalcy with this new schedule. But, depending on the student, it can affect them in many different ways.

“I think going back full-time will result in me being really sleep deprived in the building because I already don’t get enough sleep in hybrid,” freshman Alvin Gonzalez said. 

“Personally, I feel like going back will be a good change. I learn better in person and the social interaction will definitely have a positive impact on my mental health,” junior Kassidy English said. It has been over a year since students in the Shawnee Mission School District have been able to return to school full time. Students and teachers are preparing themselves for the changes that will be put into place next week, some with excitement and some with nervousness.

“It will be nice to see students in the building more often,” Loe said. For many months, schools were virtually abandoned. The opportunity to welcome thousands of students into a building allows teachers to instruct their students more often and on a more personal level which will lead to students being more engaged while completing more of the curriculum in their classes.

“[When students return] I will be able to move through the curriculum at a faster pace and cover more material,” Carter said. With students attending each class two times a week, one online and one in-person, it has been hard for teachers to cover everything they have in the past.

“I think a lot of students will get better grades because we will actually go to class and we can ask questions easier in the classroom,” Gonzalez said. Learning online was an enormous change brought to students this school year. This being said, the opportunity of bringing students back to school full-time has been anxiously anticipated. 

The district has put a lot of thought into this. While following CDC and JCDHE guidelines and closely watching COVID data, they have made the decision that it is finally safe for all students to attend school with most protocols still in place.

“We will be sticking with the vast majority of our COVID mitigation protocols that we had during hybrid,” Loe said. “The one piece that we will not be able to do is social distance six feet.” The district is still hoping to give a minimum of three feet of social distancing between students, but they are aware that during times like passing periods this cannot always be achieved. 

The decision is still pretty controversial among some people. Putting over a thousand people into one building is something that seems scary during a pandemic, but some people also think it shows the possibility for better days ahead.

“Many of us [teachers] have loved ones who are at high risk, which drives most of our concern about having larger classes and having students return without being able to social distance as much as we would like,” Carter said. “But, I agree with the decision because of the mitigation measures that the district has taken in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.”

“I think we should just finish the year in hybrid so there won’t be such a big change towards the end of the year,” Gonzalez said. 

“At this point, I feel that the best way to get back to normal is to actually go back and do things how we did before,” English said. 

Normalcy is something that many people have been striving for during this pandemic. Sending students back to school five days a week is opening a window of possibilities for schools all around.