Students come back four days in-person

More McLean students come back for four-day weeks of in-person learning

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Polina Zubarev

The number of students who returned to in-person learning stands at nearly 41%, with freshmen returning in the highest numbers to school and seniors in the least. “Four days a week is different from hybrid learning because there are [more students] in four days a week, so it gives me the opportunity to see people who aren’t in my hybrid learning letter group,” sophomore Kate Gleason said.

While McLean’s halls have been open to students since early March, full four day weeks of in-person classes began on April 19, allowing students to interact outside of a virtual setting independent of their designated alphabetical group days.

“It is still weird to be in the school [considering that we have to] socially distance and wear masks, but with four-day in-person instruction allowing for more students in the building, it is starting to feel more normal,” sophomore Kate Gleason said.

The move towards four days of in-person learning has brought classrooms together, since students have broken the barrier that online learning posed with communication. Students who haven’t met in-person all year are now able to do so. As of now, 863 students out of the 934 total who attend in-person classes opted for four-day instruction.

“I was intrigued as to how many people would be in each of my classes and was just excited to have somewhat normal school again,” senior Amy Verderame said. “[After going back], it does seem somewhat normal since the class sizes are bigger and teachers are starting to teach more to the kids in class, and not just to the kids online, with kids in the room.”

The switch of instruction has also resulted in increased engagement among students who are no longer subjected to learning behind a screen for hours on end.

“It is easier to focus four days a week with less interruptions, no family members distracting you, nor boredom driving you to your phone,” junior James Murray said.

That being said, reactions to the implementation of four-day instruction weren’t completely positive, as certain Highlanders have voiced their concerns with the blended approach to learning.

“[Although] I like the easier ability to ask questions [as] sometimes it can be harder online, I don’t like the need to wait for online students. I just want to move forward,” Murray said.

Further, students who have grown used to working from home have certainly felt the physical implications of regular schooling.

“Giving my full attention to my classes and work everyday can be draining,” Verderame said. “I am used to [attending] my classes from the comfort of my home where, oftentimes, I am not required to do so.”

However, many students who chose to go back to school are planning on remaining there. The switch has provided students with a more authentic learning experience in addition to a much-wanted sense of normalcy.

“I am not considering going [back] to hybrid or online learning,” Gleason said. “The positives outweigh the negatives in this situation.”