In-person learning: the pros and cons of being back in school


Huon Fitzpatrick, Staff Writer

After attending classes on Zoom since March 13, LJCDS has transitioned to a hybrid learning model, giving students the choice to continue learning on Zoom or to come back to campus and attend classes in person. While COVID-19 is still raging across the country, LJCDS has consulted with top experts in San Diego to make sure that the students and faculty returning to campus are as safe as possible and that the students and faculty remaining at home are fully accommodated. LJCDS has done an excellent job at transitioning from online to in-person and they have handled rising cases and weather interruptions well. Even so, the transition has a few flaws that come with dealing with unprecedented experiences.

A major positive to being back on campus is the ability to hang out with our friends again, even if it’s at a distance. Friends have a positive impact on mental health so being able to interact with friends again is a major plus and makes the learning experience more enjoyable. Throughout the pandemic, COVID has had stretches where cases have fluctuated between high and low and LJCDS has been prepared. Another positive of coming back to campus is the safety protocols that LJCDS has implemented to keep students and faculty safe. With daily temperature checks and frequent COVID testing, our school does all that it can to keep everybody safe and keep positive tests to a minimum.

LJCDS has done a wonderful job of accommodating students’ needs. LJCDS makes it possible for students to take advantage of the hybrid model by allowing students to come to campus on days they have in-person classes and stay home during Zoom class days. They also accommodate students who have been at home but want to come to campus to participate in sports by letting them practice as long as they get a routine temperature check.

For some people, sports is the main reason that they chose to come back to school, so being able to play sports again, albeit with masks and at a distance, makes the on-campus experience more appealing to LJCDS’ student-athletes. LJCDS continues to implement its safety protocols during athletics using contact tracing to make sure that athletes are safe around their teammates and the rest of the school.

Like sports, many students chose to return to campus to participate in the arts, whether that be theater, band, or singing. The COVID-19 protocols for the arts are similar to sports in that all participants must wear masks at all times and singers have to be careful while they sing. In a recent production of The Laramie Project, theater students were required to wear masks while performing and had to attempt to maintain social distancing protocols, while also performing for a limited audience of students and faculty. Overall, like sports, LJCDS is doing all it can to accommodate art students to allow them to perform at their highest level.

Although the on-campus experience makes school feel somewhat normal again, coming back to attend classes has its flaws. One major flaw of being back on campus is the workload that comes with it. While we were on Zoom, teachers lessened the workload to accommodate getting comfortable with a new learning style. Throughout the end of the 2019-2020 school year on Zoom, LJCDS students had less homework and were able to have more free time, but being back on campus for the new school year, teachers are ramping up the workload, adding stress to an already stressful situation with the pandemic.  

While on Zoom, LJCDS accommodated students’ needs by revising the schedule to start an hour later and removing classes on Wednesdays to allow students to get work done that they needed. This allowed students to have less stress with their school work and to enjoy an extra day of free time during the week to add to the weekend. Now that LJCDS students are back on campus, the schedule changed back to starting early and having class every day of the week. Although we have occasional “restorative breaks” every month or so, the workload is much more than on Zoom so the breaks do not relieve stress.

Even with its flaws, LJCDS has done a masterful job with the return-to-campus protocols to ensure that each and every Torrey is safe and COVID-19 free. These protocols help keep our students safe and allow for a close-to-normal feeling of being back at school and the ability to reconnect with the friends and teachers that we missed so dearly.

Cover photo credit: La Jolla Country Day School Facebook