BY KAREN SUROS
Back in December, Cowboys responded to a county-wide survey asking whether they planned on continuing online or resuming in-person learning. After two weeks of winter break, some students have decided to welcome the new year by returning to the halls of Cooper City High School on January 13.
After months of eLearning and quarantining, students are eager to interact with one another again. Self-isolation is an important safety measure, but it can get old very quickly and might end up negatively impacting a person’s well-being.
“Something that motivated me into coming back was the social interaction,” senior Natalie Smith said. “I am hoping other kids decide to go back.”
Students who were struggling with online learning were heavily encouraged to return to school. Some came to this decision on their own, as they felt the eLearning style was not the ideal model for them. Specifically, returning to school physically offers more opportunities for concentration and productivity.
“I can interact with people and my teachers more efficiently [in-person].”Sophomore Michael Paan
“I haven’t learned anything online and I’m trying to pass my End-Of-Course (EOC) [exam],” sophomore Michael Paan said. “I can interact with people and my teachers more efficiently [in-person].”
For others, the realization that it is now or never motivated their decision to return to school. The Class of 2021 has already missed out on the first half of their final year of high school, and many seniors want to make the most of the time they have left.
“I realized it’s my senior year of high school and there is no way I was leaving for college without stepping foot in school one last time,” senior Veronica Alvarado said. “It’s also just refreshing being able to experience something a little closer to normal.”
Call it wishful thinking, but many did not expect the pandemic to last so long. When the murmurs of COVID-19 were just emerging around this time last year, and even when schools closed down on March 13, most of the student body expected it would be over by the summer. However, the virus remains a real concern today, as is clear by the tens of thousands cases in the state of Florida.
“I honestly have no idea how longer it will be until things are ‘back to normal.’”Senior Natalie Smith
“I expected the pandemic to be long, but not this long,” Smith said. “I honestly have no idea how longer it will be until things are ‘back to normal.’”
CCHS will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, such as requiring masks and social distancing. Students are prepared to obey these rules, as well as for the potential exposure to the coronavirus.
“I think being exposed to COVID-19 is a risk even if I don’t go back to school,” Alvarado said. “The best thing to do is to make sure I’m staying safe when I’m in school by wearing my mask and social distancing, and I think I should be okay.”
The majority of students will continue online learning, despite Broward’s eagerness to return them to the classroom setting. According to a poll on Instagram, around 91% of CCHS student respondents plan on staying online for the third quarter.
The majority of students will continue online learning, despite Broward’s eagerness to return them to the classroom setting.
For teachers, however, it was not a choice; Broward County has told around 1,700 teachers that they will be expected to return to their respective campuses this upcoming week. This requirement has naturally led to backlash, as some teachers have underlying health conditions that put them at a higher-risk. The consequences of this decision could be significant, as teachers who resolve to stay home might leave students without instruction for an undetermined length of time. Teachers who return will have to get used to an entirely new classroom experience.
“I am a little nervous about going back to the building to teach in a classroom with students,” math teacher Michelle Harding said. “I cannot forget that we are in a pandemic and teaching in a mask all day is definitely something I have never done before.”
Naturally, teachers and students worry about their new normal as they return to CCHS after months of eLearning, but they take comfort in knowing that CDC guidelines are being followed and look forward to seeing familiar faces once again.
Photo courtesy of Principal Vera Perkovic on Twitter