WELCOMING STUDENTS: Beginning second semester, the doors of DGN have been inviting students in through a hybrid schedule everyday. Unfortunately, only 65% of students are choosing to participate. (Olivia Shirk)
WELCOMING STUDENTS: Beginning second semester, the doors of DGN have been inviting students in through a hybrid schedule everyday. Unfortunately, only 65% of students are choosing to participate.

Olivia Shirk

DGN wants you back

February 17, 2021

Normalcy is a concept we have all seemingly forgotten. Eight periods a day, packed student sections, and sharing tables with classmates are all but fleeting memories after spending almost an entire year in alternative learning environments. 

Our new “normal” has become Zoom calls and face masks, symptom checks, and saliva tests. Many of us learned the significance of the word “quarantine” and suffered the consequences of social isolation. Students need to come back to school. With the current hybrid learning plan in place and the PPE required, there’s no better time than the present.

For the past 11 months, we’ve spent so much time adapting, anything that was once normal seems like it simply didn’t exist. But it did. We have to remember a time when there were more than four kids per class, we could talk to (let alone hear) each other in the hallways, and there was such a thing as a crowded cafeteriaa place where students could actually gather. We have to remember these things so that we don’t allow ourselves to forget. We have to remember again by living it again. 

As of Feb. 16, the rate of fully remote learners at DGN was 35% and at DGS is 56%. That is a 4% increase at DGN and an 8% increase at DGS just from Jan. 25. We have done our time when it comes to suffering the wrath of COVID-19. The pandemic has stripped away precious time that we will never get back. The class of 2021 will never see their last homecoming nor eat with their best friends in the cafeteria again. They missed their spring SAT and had to apply to schools without even stepping foot on campus. Unfortunately, it may be too late for the class of 2021 to experience a normal high school life again, but for the underclassmen, it’s not.

Students now have a real opportunity to turn the school year around into a year where we didn’t suffer from the effects of remote learningwe surpassed them. We will never be able to return to what we once had if students don’t trust the process and return to school. With the amount of PPE students wear, social distancing protocols in place, and the recent addition of saliva testing, inside the walls of DGN are arguably safer than any supermarket, doctor’s office, or public area around.  

That being said, each and everyone’s circumstances are different and I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around all of the possible experiences people have lived through or are continuing to live through. During these trying times, physical and mental health is and will always be the top priority. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 56% of young adults have reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder throughout the pandemic. It is understandable for those dealing with their own health issues or their loved ones, that they remain at home. Now, more than ever, we must be understanding and flexible with the circumstances each individual comes from.

It is important to note that the resources provided at school are more readily available to those in-person. Face-to-face visits and meetings with a support team are more authentic, allowing for more connections to be made.

To those who choose to stay remote for the sole purpose of convenience and ease, the real world is begging you to come out. The reality of the situation is that once our generation survives this pandemic, we will have to return to the responsibilities and stressors that life brings us. We either continue to take the easy way out or we prove to everyone that we are not the spoiled-rotten, technologically-addicted generation that everyone perceives us as. 

Teachers didn’t sign up to teach empty classrooms and with the opportunity to come back to school, reality is banging on our door. We can either choose to accept it along with a once-in-a-lifetime high school experience everybody dreams of having, or we can choose to stay in bed with our cameras off, blocking out the world we don’t want to acknowledge is living without us. Let’s go back to a better time.

 

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