The Return to Full In-Person Learning

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Students Walking Around Campus while practicing COVID Protocols at Max Capacity

Alex Lindenberg, Staff Writer

UHS has returned to full in-person learning after 2021’s hybrid school year. Due to student and staff effort, as well as the embodiment of the “Better Together” theme, students are able to finally reconnect with one another and return to their classrooms together again.

“Our opening ‘Better Together’ was the manifestation of a huge effort to come back together and emphasize rebuilding our community and restoring relationships, as one of the most challenging aspects to the pandemic was the sense of isolation it caused,” UHS Principal Dr. Kevin Astor said. “We want to create as many opportunities to come together as a UNI Community as possible–every event is important to us.”

Following last year’s foreign schedule of only two in-person days per week, the process of transitioning back into a full five days per week attendance was unfamiliar territory as well, and UHS staff members were unsure of how it would play out.

“I think everyone is so excited to be back that they are really trying to make it work,” Astor said. “There are small bits like dress code and arriving on time to class that some students are struggling with as we transition back to five full days of school, but that will come with time.”

Despite UHS staff calling this a surprisingly easy transition, concerns still remain about the dangers of having all students back on campus again with COVID-19 and the new variants.

“I’m a little fearful of what COVID is going to be like in the future, especially with all these big events like spirit night and homecoming coming up,” senior Samyuta Maradani said.

Students are also worried about the effects COVID may have on not only themselves, but on family members.

“I’m just concerned with the COVID numbers increasing because we seem to get an email almost every week that someone from our school contracted COVID,” senior Nikki Tsai said. “It makes me worried that I might potentially spread it to my younger siblings who are too young to get the vaccine.”

UHS staff has implemented safety protocols to help protect students, teachers, and staff against COVID-19 while being able to continue in-person learning.

“We have enhanced ventilation and cleaning protocols in place from last year, but of course, the biggest mitigation factor is the requirement for students and staff to wear masks indoors when together,” Astor said. “We have to rework many events to ensure compliance, as for example, we moved our first pep assembly from inside the gym to outside in the stadium because of the number of students who would have been inside together.”.

Even with these concerns, students and staff remain positive and ecstatic to be back in-person again after a long period of isolation. 

“I’ve enjoyed being back at school. Everyone is super eager to get involved, and I’ve been able to reconnect with my teachers, which is awesome!” Maradani said.

“Walking around during lunch and break and going through classrooms seeing so many kids here is amazing,” Astor said. “We are excited for football games, dances, assemblies, Spirit Night and the many other events that bring us together to be in community, and like our motto says, we are better together.”

The transition from hybrid learning to fully in-person learning has been swift and many express excited and eager attitudes towards finally being able to rejoin together. After more than a year of being separated, UHS has filled its once empty campus again.