Students navigate return anxiety during hybrid transition

Saliha Ansari, Staff Writer

After 13 long months of complete remote learning, students now have the option of returning back to ETHS for hybrid learning. While being in the vast building of ETHS is something most students would be used to at this point in the year, because of COVID-19, there are many students and teachers who were nervous about coming back. For this reason, the choice of returning comes with a variety of emotions.

Due to COVID-19, there are many freshmen and new students who have only been inside the school a handful of times.

“The stress of changing my schedule, the uncertainty of where my classes are, how the hybrid plan works and whether or not I’d be with my friends [is a concern],” freshman Sophia Lindsey explains. 

While going back to school and navigating new schedules, unfamiliar buildings and social dynamics can be stressful, some students are grateful to interact with peers in person.

“I think it’s going to be really nice getting to see people again and not be online as much,” freshman Bridget Coutre explains.

 A crucial aspect of high school is connecting with peers, and going back to school will give students the opportunity to get to know some of their classmates in real life. Additionally, some teachers agree that interacting with students in person is extremely valuable.

Not only are some students experiencing a heightened sense of fear with the return of in-person learning, many teachers have had to make extraordinary structural and planning changes for hybrid learning. 

“For me, the best part about teaching is being there with my students. But at the same time, it’s hard because it’s [going back] not going to be normal,” history teacher DeAnna Duffy explains. 

Many teachers have the goal of trying to create an environment in their classrooms where everyone is engaged and involved in class, whether they’re online or in-person.  

“I am trying to create lessons that will be engaging and not waste the opportunity of having students in person,” P.E. teacher Luella Gesky says. 

Additionally, some teachers have redone their quarter four agendas to try and make it more hybrid friendly and interactive for all the students or created templates for their class that will help the students get an idea of what that class might look like for the rest of the year. 

  Students who are new to the building have been preparing by using the resources provided by ETHS. 

“I did the ‘walk your schedule’ thing with a student ambassador, and I plan on putting my schedule on my home screen so it’s easy to access it,” Lindsey explains. 

Walking schedules and doing in-person activities has given students the idea of what the school looks like and how their classes are laid out, and it may also help students feel more comfortable when navigating classes in the building. 

Although there will be major changes, there are still things that students and teachers are looking forward to for the rest of the school year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the people who are going to be there…. It’s not nearly as fun to teach online than it is in-person, so I’m looking forward to doing that,” biology teacher Karen Johnson says. 

The thought of going back to school is exciting for most, because you get to interact with other people.

It’s been hard trying to create relationships with people in our classrooms, but going back will give people the chance to meet and get to know their teachers and classmates. 

Even through all the anxious feelings, most people can agree that going back to school will allow those who opted-in to in-person learning the chance to become familiar with the new layout and precautions, making it easier to return back to school next year.

“I look forward to meeting my teachers, because I’ve been trying to bond with them since the start of the year but it’s been really difficult,” sophomore Christina Nguyen explains. “So I’m going to try to get to know them better when we go back.”