Ever since March of 2020, life has become a nightmare. COVID-19 has changed our perspective on society, ourselves, and others. Many of us have turned to the internet for support or to discuss politics and the happenings of the world. Our shortcomings as a society and our tendency to overlook the severity of a situation allowed the deadly virus to take us by storm.
Schools have been doing what they can to make everyone feel safe and to nurture a positive and inclusive learning environment during the pandemic. Ridgewood Public Schools offered the option for students to be virtual only or hybrid during the 2020-2021 school year, allowing students and families to make an informed and safe decision that best fit their needs at the time.
Speaking from experience, there was a point last year where someone in my household was diagnosed with a serious illness and would not have been able to adequately fight against COVID-19. The learning environment that Ridgewood provided allowed me to stay home and sleep with peace of mind, knowing that I would never have to be the reason someone I love would suffer.
When speaking to freshman Sam Estes, I could hear the same concern bleeding through. Estes states that “I enjoyed being virtual. It allowed me to express myself and feel more comfortable during the school day. My home harbored a safe place for me to escape the chaotic world outside my window.”
Unlike what most of us thought, the drastic change of virtual school was not as temporary as it seemed. In September, we would find them forcing all students to return to in-person learning. They reassured students, parents, and staff that there would be safety precautions in place and that we would all be protected, but the hallways were as chaotic and bustling on the first day of school as they were before quarantine.
It breaks my heart that in this school of over a thousand students, some of us must care more about our families than the school does about us.
Graphic: Sarah Jeong