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Picture of Gia McAloon in school

How Students Feel About Returning to 100% In-Person Class With Masks

On September 7, Nutley High School opened for full, in-person instruction after being virtual or hybrid since March of 2020.  This opening made students more excited than ever to return to school and learn normally again.


Freshmen and sophomores may have not stepped foot in the high school at alland juniors had a couple of months of normalcy in the building. Seniors only had a normal freshman year. With that being said, it is easy to say that students are eager and excited to return to school again. 


Nia Zisis, a current senior at NHS, explains her experience returning to school in September 2021. She feels “a sense of normalcy again, and I have a routine with school.” Most students agree with Zisis’s statement about getting back into a routine. When Zisis had the decision to return last year, she opted out, but then changed her mind and came towards the end of the year. 


She decided to come back at the end of the year because she needed to interact with other students. When returning to school she felt that “it was weird. We couldn’t do partner work and there was literally no one in school.” 


Gia McAloon, another senior at NHS, explains how happy she is “that we are back full time although it feels very weird having to wear masks”. She sufferers from extreme asthma which makes it difficult for McAloon to wear a mask in school. She understands the importance of a mask, but “it is hard for me to wear one for a long period of time.” 


Zisis and McAloon both have a mutual feeling about school returning to 100% normal. They both express their opinion on virtual learning and how it affected their education and the adjustment to come back. “It was only 4 classes a day and school was a half-day everyday,” said Zisis. McAloon says that “learning online was hard and people definitely did not get the education they needed.” 


Coming back to school was a huge adjustment. Students have had to learn new rules to make everybody in the building safe. One major change was hallway and stairway directionals, meaning stairwells were either up or down only. “It is a hassle getting from class to class because of it,” says McAloon. Finding the nearest up staircase could be difficult when trying to make it to class on time. 


Students often sat in their bed while trying to listen to the teacher teach a lesson. They could get up and go to the bathroom or get a snack when they are hungry. They were often distracted them from the fact that they were actually in school, albeit from home.


After a year in a half of virtual learning, students have finally returned to school and most are ecstatic to be back. Nia Zisis and Gia McAloon are just two of hundreds that are happy to be back and now value their education more than ever before. They have learned to not take school for granted.