Students Look Forward to In-Person School Next Year


HCPSS plans to go fully in-person for next school year with the option of going virtual and attending the Digital Learning Centre (DEC).
With the vaccine rollout and the overall stabilizing of the virus, HCPSS wants to continue the push towards normalcy by returning to the in-person education model next school year. The full instructional plan will be finalized in the coming months.
In a public statement addressing the fall return, “The resolution, supported by the State Superintendent, does allow us to seek approval for a virtual alternative option for families who may choose to remain virtual, but it makes clear that in-person instruction for five days a week is the expectation for all districts in the state,” HCPSS Superintendent, Dr. Martirano, said.
Despite the push for a more normal-looking academic year, there are also plans for those who wish to stay virtual. The Digital Learning Centre (DEC) was announced as an alternative to the in-person plan and gives students and families the opportunity to choose. Students are highly encouraged to go in person, but they cannot be forced into going, so the DEC was set up to offer adequate education to those who feel that virtual is better for their learning style.
The DEC will be separate from the regular school system. There is a proposed 6.2 million dollar budget for if 1,250 students decide to attend, which is about the average number of students per high school in Maryland. The DEC will effectively act as a separate high school for those students and will be set in roughly the same virtual environment we see now. The DEC will be seperate from all the other schools in terms of the environment and learning process.There will need to be specific implementations put in place to adhere to the virtual learning status quo. Opportunities like clubs, extracurricular activities, and sports may be limited for students in the DEC due to scheduling issues, though details have not been specified yet. Students attending will still be enrolled in their assigned home school.
“I like the decision, I really like being given the ability to choose between virtual and in person because some people may not feel comfortable going back. Who knows what the situation will be like [in the fall],” freshman Pham Nguyen said.
Even with the vaccination and extensive measures being taken, there is always uncertainty as this is a very unprecedented time, and mutations of the virus could also plague many minds.
Many more students will be welcoming the push towards normalcy and going back to school when fall comes.
“I’m looking forward to going in person. I miss being able to regularly see my friends and peers. I also miss the environment that school brings, we have been able to see much of that in the virtual world,” junior Sam Flores said.
Being able to see friends is at the forefront of many students’ minds, as it has now been over a year since most were last in school. Most students haven’t seen some of their peers over that period of time. The school environment of in person learning is also a perk that everyone took for granted. Many students have found it hard to get motivated in the virtual world, and the in person environment may just be what they need to get back up.
“I’m honestly sick of virtual learning. Even in-person now it is very different, there are barely any people and we all have to stick to strict rules,” freshman Thomas Garcia said.
The current state of in person learning has been very tight and with little opportunity for socialization. Many opportunities and clubs have also been limited due to safety measures or lack of membership and ability to get together.
The decision for a full in-person school year to start in the fall was one that many expected and anticipated. It seems only natural, with the whole country trying to ease back to pre-covid life. Even with that, it may not completely be the same as pre-covid, as there still may be guidelines and mandates in order to keep students safe. The continued heavy use of Chromebooks will also likely stay. Regardless, most students are looking forward to the light at the end of the long, uncertain tunnel that was virtual learning.