Going Back.

Going Back.

As students in Sao Paulo enter  another month of online learning, while the  rest of the world starts to move on, it can feel perplexing to grasp this new stage of the pandemic. The issue of returning to school in-person is constantly being weighted by government authorities against the daily flow of studies and statistics regarding the pandemic, which in turn creates more questions than answers. It is all very uncertain, and there seems to be little to no stability with student lives. While interviewing Graded students it became clear that this instability has become a constant burden in students daily lives, and even mental health. Being a Graded student is already hard enough on its own, with demanding courses and the stress. The current pandemic has only brought chaos to this situation. Dealing with this different learning situation catalysed by the pandemic is no easy task, which is why The Talon hopes to shed some light on the uncertainties students are experiencing right now, and get a grasp of how students are feeling with the current situation. 

11th grader, Pietra Koutras, mentioned how “confusing” and “stressful” it has been not knowing the circumstances and time of the return to school. This is likely how most students feel right now with the little certainty of when and how we are getting back to normal. “Now we have to worry about the pandemic and our school work all at once. It’s too overwhelming,” explained Koutras. Furthermore she added that she can’t really concentrate on her work “when all of this is happening.”

Graded is preparing to reopen in the upcoming months. The first stages of this return protocol began in October.  This news caused both excitement and worry among Graded students. 

Even though many students like Koutras are feeling overwhelmed during this hectic year, it is promising to see how Graded students are dealing with the plausible return to school.

Much like Koutras, Maria Hekma in the 11th grade mentioned how she “doesn’t know how the transition will be.” Will the changes impact her learning? Will the health protocols make it difficult to concentrate? Will she even remember how to be a student in-person? These are all questions that have arised from the exciting news that school’s return is finally plausible. 

However, Hekma did anticipate the excitement that will come from “seeing [her] friends everyday again, and finally being able to talk to [her] teachers in person.” This mix of emotions seems to be a pattern amongst Graded students, who, like most people during the pandemic, have no proper idea of what the future holds. 

 Although we are coming back to school, it will not be the same. As Hekma mentioned in her interview, this might be worrisome, yet it will offer many benefits which were not present during months of distance learning. 

When interviewing students from The Benjamin School of Florida who have already gone back to school, we can see how a typical school day looks post-lockdown. According to Camilo Saiiz, an 11th grader at the school, “only high schoolers have been able to come back.” In addition he highlights that all students have to wear a mask  “at all times during the day.” He also added that there are new protocols such as measuring each student’s temperature “every morning before school.” Furthermore he said that, “even a small fever gets you sent back home.” Lastly he mentioned that “only 16 people are allowed in each classroom at once, including the teachers. And they track where everyone sits so that [they] can be distanced.” 

According to interviews with Mayor Covas, we can be expecting our back to school to look pretty similar. Which raises the common question amongst students, will it really be better? 

Alexis Markakis, a Graded junior, shared his views on going back to in-person school.  He mentioned that “students will not adapt back to the normal school curriculum quickly. School won’t be normal. There will be a new normal. I don’t know how people are going to deal with this.” In addition he said that having to change from in-person school to online was difficult enough and that now changing back from online to restricted in-person will be another challenge. 

Another 11th grade student, Julia Paula, also talked about her feelings towards going back to school. She said that “it will probably be really hard for the teachers to readjust. It was already a really hard transition to change the way they plan and organize their lessons. But, at least we will finally be able to have that one-on-one contact which many people have been lacking.”  Just as students had to change their learning methods, teachers had to modify their teaching strategies, which they will have to do once again. However, as Julia pointed out, the personal interactions that back to school will bring, even if 6ft apart, will be a distinguished benefit from this process. Julia added, “It will be hard, but I think we can do it,” which seems to be how most students feel during this time. 

The uncertainties of the new era that we are currently living and battling though have not been easy on anyone, let alone students. Through the interviews conducted it is possible to see that students are experiencing a lot of stress surrounding back to school, however, there is also excitement.