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Queens high school students reflect on their learning experience during the pandemic

Queens high school students reflect on remote learning during COVID-19 and returning to school in the fall. (Photo by Erin Yoon)

As the scholastic year comes to an end, Queens high school students are looking back at their time spent learning remotely and looking forward to returning to in-person school for the fall semester.

High school students who followed the blended learning model in the fall semester recall being faced with many safety precautions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“There were lots of regulations that we were expected to follow,” said Jasmine Germany, a sophomore at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School. “Before [anyone] went into the building, they had to complete a health screening survey and get their temperature taken.”

The protocols, she claimed, were reassuring because she understood their importance in keeping the school community free of the virus. The rules helped the students feel safe and protected, according to Germany.

Other blended learning students, however, were often frustrated by the countless restrictions.

“It was just annoying sometimes,” said David McCaulay, a freshman at Forest Hills High School. “I know [the precautions] were all for the safety of the school community, but there were many mornings in which I was bothered by the numerous tests we had to pass to simply enter the building.”

Students who attended classes in a fully remote environment, too, spoke of difficulties they encountered upon adjusting to the changing conditions.

“I found it difficult to concentrate in online school,” confessed Bethany Kim, a junior at Maspeth High School. “I wasn’t used to learning from a voice coming out of the computer.”

According to Kim, many students at her high school have struggled with the same conflict.

Online learning placed more pressure on students to learn the material on their own, she explained.

Due to the unprecedented and inconvenient nature of this past school year, students are now expressing an increased excitement toward returning to school full-time in the fall semester.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier in 2021 that the city expects all public school students to return to in-person learning in the fall. The mayor also said the city will be eliminating the remote learning option come September.

“Now that I have more friends than I did in my freshman year, school events like homecoming, sound much more exciting,” said Germany. “ I can’t wait to start my in-person high school experience.”

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