Just weeks ago, Fairfield Warde students were separated into two cohorts, classrooms were half full, and teachers were having to focus their attention on both those at home and in-person.
Now, almost everyone is back in-person, the hallways jam-packed, and both cohorts are now together as one. Classes that felt empty feel jam-packed, and desks that used to feel miles away are now close together.
Warde’s daily student population has doubled in a matter of weeks, a quick turnaround from the hybrid learning model.
Various policies have been put into place at Warde to try and stop the spread of COVID-19 now that nearly the entire student population is back in-person. There are social distancing guidelines for both classrooms and at lunch, masks must be worn at all times, and there are strict seating charts to make contact tracing easier for school officials.
While they are still students that are all-remote, classes, even with all the guidelines, somewhat feel as they were almost exactly a year ago, right before Fairfield Public Schools shut down due to COVID-19.
But, there are challenges to reuniting a group of students after 6 months of separation, and both faculty and students are feeling it.
“Every class develops their own personality,” said history teacher Ms. Macintosh. “Now you are merging those two personalities together.”
After so many months of only seeing a certain group of peers and pupils on a certain day, it can take a while to bring everyone together again.
“As a teacher, your relationship is different with every class,” added Ms. Macintosh.
Throughout the week of reopening, teachers had various fun activities for their classes to create a sense of comradery after so much time apart, including get-to-know-you games, trivia, or even just going around the room with students sharing their feelings about the changes.
“In one of my classes we went around and shared how we were and what we were looking forward to with this new experience,” said senior Wallis Brune.
Activities like these made the transition back to full-time, in-person learning much easier for some.
Even with all the fun, some are still feeling uneasy about all students being back full-time. Especially those, like senior Erica Biegel, who had been classified as fully remote, and had been taking classes from home for the past few months.
“My classes have a different energy now that everyone is together again,” said Biegel. “It can feel overwhelming.”
For many, it will take some time to adjust, but students are excited to end the school year on a high note. During the week of reopening, Warde put together spirit days to foster a sense of community, like Throwback Thursday and Fancy Friday.
For Warde seniors especially, these final months will be bittersweet, as they are ending their high school career, with hopes of a normal graduation and senior festivities.
“Seeing everyone together is fun, it’s nice to end the year, and high school overall, like this,” said senior Courtney Glovin.