Talk around campus: Returning to in-person school

by Sally Zhu, A&E and Lifestyle Editor

As the 2021-22 school year approaches, students and faculty discuss returning to school in person on campus. They share their excitement to see their peers and teachers after a year of virtual learning as well as how they feel about the potential continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as they prepare to jump into the new school year. 

Sally Zhu

How do you feel about returning to in-person school?

“I’m quite excited, it’s been a long time since we’ve actually gone in person,” Vika Gautham (9) said. “Being inside, it’s not bad, but it’s just kind of boring compared to going to school in person. So I’m quite excited.”

“I think it would be an improvement over Zoom class since you get to meet friends, you get to interact with teachers, and just have a better experience overall on zoom,” Alec Zhang (10). “But there are also some drawbacks, such as not being able to stand as much and some of those things, but overall, I think it’s an improvement.”

“I am very excited about being back in person with the students,” Upper School Dance Director Karl Kuehn said. “With dance, in particular, it was especially challenging teaching remotely and fully engaging with the students like we can when we are in person, so I’m thrilled, and I’m excited and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces behind their masks back on campus soon.”

What are you most looking forward to about being on campus?

“I feel like on hand learning—for example, science is doing labs, and history [is] doing projects—I like that a lot,” Vika said. “I feel like we didn’t do a lot of those in online learning, so I’m looking forward to those.”

“Honestly, just seeing people that I don’t necessarily hang out with on a regular basis because I’ve seen friends—just like hanging out—but I haven’t seen the classmates that like I’m not particularly close with but that I might talk to in class or partner with for a school project,” Ashley Barth (12) said. “So I’m definitely looking forward to seeing those people more just because I haven’t seen them in so long.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting my friends in person since, on Zoom, it was difficult to chat with them,” Alec said. “I’m also looking forward to meeting my teachers and just being able to hang out with everyone—probably just the experience of going to high school since my freshman year we were just home most of the time.”

Do you have any concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic?

“I think that we need to be cautious, especially with the Delta variant and the more recent changes and advancements that have been occurring related to that,” Kuehn said. “I think, of course, we need to follow all the recommendations from the [Centers of Disease Control and Prevention] (CDC) and our county and follow any necessary protocols that are put in place to protect ourselves and the Harker community and our families at home. So, of course, there are concerns, but I think that we can be successful in what we do in person on campus following specific guidelines.”

“Most people should already have the vaccine, so I don’t think [COVID-19] should be a big concern,” Alec said. “But just to be safe, maybe we could just have the same rules as in May and June—just kind of to a lesser degree.”

“[I’m] not particularly [concerned],” Ashley said. “I’m confident that the school is going to be very safe about the regulations that they set. I’m sure we’re going to be wearing masks and that they’re going to be monitoring the outlook of [COVID-19] in the area.”

Are you ready for school to start soon?

“I think I’m fairly ready,” Vika said. “It still hasn’t hit me that we’re starting. It feels like summer went by really quickly, but I’m fairly prepared.”

“No, I’m never ready for school to start after summer,” Ashley said. “I think we’re just going to dive back in. I’m excited for my classes, I’m excited to see people, I’m excited for clubs and stuff. It’s just going to be a transition, even more so than other years.

“I’m ready to get back into the swing of things,” Kuehn said. “Of course, being back on campus, eating lunch in Manzanita, these are all things that I’m looking forward to.”