ARHS students reflect on return to classroom

  • Amherst Regional High School GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 4/15/2021 10:06:58 AM

AMHERST — Amherst Regional High School (ARHS), like many schools across the country, is beginning the process of phasing students back into classrooms.

According to ARHS Principal Talib Sadiq, students will be returning in just a few weeks, but even with the option being put forth, not all students feel that going back is the right choice.

“I just feel like it’s not safe for the teachers mainly,” ARHS freshman Zack Dixon said when asked if he was going back in-person. “I know a couple old teachers in school and I’d be concerned for them.”

Safety was a common precaution when thinking about going back to school surrounded by other students, including ARHS junior Tristan Lewis-Schurter.

“I feel like it’s kind of reckless to be putting a lot of people in danger if the majority of folks aren’t vaccinated. I think it’s gonna end up being more harm than it is good,” Lewis-Schurter said.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, through April, about 7% of Massachusetts 14,334 COVID-19 cases have come from elementary and high schools. For some, this is a frightening number, but for others, it is not.

“I’m not that worried about COVID given the fact that schools are not a very common place for kids to get it,” ARHS freshman Drew Lutz said when asked if he was worried about catching the virus by going back to school in person.

Safety wasn’t the only reason students didn’t want to go back in-person either.

“I love sleeping. If I went to school in-person I would have to wake up earlier, and I already have a horrible sleep schedule,” Dixon said when asked why he didn’t want to go to school in-person.

The social aspect of in-person school was also important to students who want to return to the classroom.

“I like being around other people, especially people my age, and I don’t get that much when I’m at home,” ARHS sophomore Isabel Auerbach said.

ARHS senior Ian Juras also expressed a desire to see other students and teachers. “I think it would just be a nice chance to see all the teachers and students I care about before moving on to the next part of my life and going to college,” he said.

According to a study done by Teacher Lists that surveyed 3,000 middle and high school students about what they missed most about in-person school, 72% of them said they missed seeing other people the most.

A large portion also said they missed being able to interact with teachers easily and having a fuller learning experience.

“The quality of my work would be better. I find it hard to focus when I’m in an area where I used to spend all of my time resting, but now I have to work here too. If I have a place to work and a place to rest, that will be better for my work,” Auerbach said in reference to why she wants to go back to ARHS in person.

Most freshmen haven’t stepped foot in the classrooms and hallways where they’ll be spending the next three years, though they will be given the chance to do so for the first time this spring.

“I want to go back so that I’m not clueless about the school when I’m a sophomore, but I don’t want to get COVID,” ARHS freshman Sonisai Loeung Rinehart said.

Talvin Dhingra is a freshman at Amherst Regional High School.

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