There is no doubt that this past year has been like no other. We all had to adapt to a “new normal” of online schooling, constant hand washing, social distancing, and rarely seeing our friends. Having quarantined for nearly a year now, we have grown accustomed to this strange way of life. But as the vaccine is distributed and cases begin to decline, our lives are beginning to return back to normal. We may begin to wonder: will things ever be the way they were before the pandemic?
Of course, there is no way to know for sure. We will most likely do our best to return to our old lives, but the pandemic has changed many of us as people. As students, a large aspect of our lives that has changed is school. Once the world begins to open up again, Ridgewood schools will most likely do the same. Hopefully, if everyone is ever back in-person the entire school day, everything will be more or less like how it was before. We will have normal classes, attend normal club meetings, and do normal labs. We will have lockers and will maybe even be able to eat lunch with friends again. The only way to move forward will be to try to return everything to normal, and that is probably what will happen with our schools.
However, it is unlikely that school will ever be exactly the same ― the introduction of virtual classes likely being the biggest factor in any new change. Because of the nature of online meetings, those unable to come to school may have an option to attend classes virtually. Instead of a teacher’s absence meaning a free period, it may now entail a Zoom meeting. Students on vacation may be able to attend class from wherever they may be. Even snow days, delayed openings, and early dismissals may be replaced with all-virtual days. As long as the internet is running, virtual classes may remain a permanent part of our school experience. Though it is not certain, there is a chance that our schools will have some permanent changes due to the pandemic.
How long will Ridgewood schools continue to offer a completely virtual option? Will enrichment days ever be brought back? When will our lives be able to go back to normal? My guess is as good as yours. None of us has ever experienced anything like this so it is hard to say what the future will look like. Maybe school will never be like it was before the coronavirus. Maybe we will go back to school in the fall and the past months will have seemed like one long nightmare. But one thing I do know is that if school even vaguely goes back to normal, I will miss the hour-long lunches.
Graphic: Tess Cundiff