With the new hybrid schedule introduced at the end of April, teachers and a few students at Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School are back in their classrooms. A large number of students, however, opted to not return to campus this year and to instead stay remote. There are a number of reasons for this decision: parents worried about their child(ren) contracting and spreading COVID-19, the hassle of going back to school so close to the end of the year, or the awkwardness of not being able to talk in your 1st-period Zoom meeting because everyone else in your advisory class is on Zoom, too.
Despite the fact that so many students aren’t returning to school just yet, many are eager to be on campus next semester, which students agree is a very real possibility due to the growing vaccination rate in L.A. county and the recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15 years old, an age group which makes up a big portion of ERHS’ population.
“It’d be preposterous if we didn’t [go back to campus next semester], unless vaccine rollout doesn't happen the way it's supposed to, which I highly doubt,” Shepherd Williams, a 10th grader who will be going into his junior year next year, said. “I doubt people in our age range will have a problem with getting the vaccine.”
Shepherd is very much looking forward to going back to school in order to see friends and just people in general. “I had to stop seeing people so abruptly, so it’ll be nice to see people in person again after so long.”
“I’m also looking forward to being able to learn better, because I have issues focusing at home, and a classroom environment will definitely help me focus better. Online school has been rough. I think junior year will be easier for me than online school has been.”
This is a sentiment echoed by incoming senior Spencer Hart, who said that they’ll be “excited to be in a place of learning” to help improve their focus.
“I miss a lot of the teachers,” Spencer continued. “It’s those early morning or lunchtime teachers that let you into their room and make you feel so safe and comfortable.” And though they didn’t say they meant Mr. Hicks, it’s okay; we all know they did, anyway. (Thanks for letting students into your class in the mornings, Mr. Hicks! It means a lot.)
What is Spencer most excited for, though? The fact that they’ve had “a bit of a glow up” during our year away from school, of course (and who wouldn’t be excited about that?).
“Being away from everyone was kind of nice for a little bit, so I’m really excited to come back and just, like, be so much of a better person and have so much more confidence and be ready to, like, call teachers by their first names just to intimidate them.”
Ava Valencia is going into eighth grade at ERHS next year, and she’s only been on campus a few times as a result. She’s most looking forward to eating lunch with her friends.
“It sounds really simple,” Ava said, “but the main reason I want to go back to school is to talk to my friends in person. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the classrooms are decorated, and swimming in the pool for P.E.!”
Incoming junior Liam Taylor said he’s looking forward to “community. Being able to do band, and extra-curriculars. It’s so annoying because we get three shows a year for band, and about a week before our second show, they hit an asbestos line or something in the auditorium, so we had to wait to do our concert, and then by the time that was ready, COVID had rolled around which canceled both our second and third concerts.”
Extra-curricular activities are definitely a big thing that I’m excited for when we return to campus because I’m a member of ERHS’ Theatre Company. I love being in Theatre Company a lot, and as nice as it is to be able to adapt to performing on Zoom (which we did Friday, May 21st with Don Zolidis’ play “Game of Tiaras”), nothing beats the rush of being able to perform on a stage in front of an audience, and it will be phenomenal to be able to do that again.
No matter what you or your friends are looking forward to upon our full(er) return to campus next semester, I hope that it meets your expectations.