CVHS’s Partial Return To Norms; Life During COVID


Ashley Park

As the first quarter of the 2021-2022 school year comes to an end, a majority of the student body here at Centreville High School could probably agree with the fact that the school experience so far has definitely been different from past years. Following the COVID-19 outbreak around the world in the earlier months of 2020, people were required to stay in quarantine, turning their homes into personal workspaces. Schools in all different counties were physically closed, and teachers conducted their lessons from homes through online forums. This remained the case from the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year to the majority of the 2020-2021 school year. Last year, several schools in Fairfax County, including Centreville High School, opened their doors to those willing to return to in-person classes. Classes were split between students sitting in the classroom and students attending lessons on Blackboard Collaborate. However, starting the beginning of this school year, almost all students were welcomed back into the physical school.

Despite this exciting adjustment, there are, naturally, going to be rules that all people – students and staff – should follow. One of these policies is the FCPS mask mandate. Masks, or coverings for your mouth and nose area, are required to be worn throughout the school day. This includes the entirety of each class period. Students who need to blow their nose or fix their mask are required to do so out in the hallway rather than in the classroom. The only time in the day you would see students with their masks down is during lunch periods. Many students find the masks irritating for their skin or just bothersome in general, while others don’t see a problem with wearing them. However, masks are a major reason why we have been able to stay in person for this long, and hopefully, we will get to a point where we don’t need them anymore.

Another difference in this school year is the addition of the platform Schoology. After last year’s considerable usage of Google Apps like Google Classroom, due to most work being done online, a handful of students and teachers found it difficult to navigate and adapt to this new resource. Schoology contains and combines the tools previously offered by Blackboard and the assignments students had used Google Classroom to access. Teachers provide agendas, lesson plans, or maybe even recordings of lessons for class periods through Schoology. This is an extremely helpful effort as it not only keeps the in-person students on track, but it is informative to those doing schoolwork from home due to inability to attend school. On the topic of not being able to attend school, students who experience any COVID-19 symptoms are urged to stay home and get tested for the virus as well. In addition to this, teachers encourage their students to keep the same seats within classrooms in order to keep track of who interacts and have contact with. This way, if a student tests positive for COVID-19, the students around them in their shared classrooms could be alerted of this.

Just like with masks, the student body is split on whether or not they prefer being in-person more. A lot of students found their ability to concentrate during classes increased compared to last year. Many of them could agree that being in school makes it harder to fall asleep during class and is more interactive and therefore enjoyable for them. On the other side of this split, are those who think working from home was more beneficial for them. Common reasons for this were that joining classes online and not having to travel to and from school saved a lot of time, being at home was all the more comfortable and convenient, and working at their own pace was just their preferred way to work. However, although all these students have their favored method of efficiency, a good chunk of them can agree that returning to school makes seeing friends so much easier. After spending so much time at home alone, the buzz in classrooms and getting to eat with peers is refreshing.

Overall, switching back to in-person classes definitely helped Centreville High School go somewhat back to normal in social and academic aspects. Yes, it is extremely different to what schooling has been like in the past. However, many think of this year as a step in the right direction after last year’s events. It has been a long and tedious process from students, parents, staff, and administrators, but it seems worthwhile in the end. All we can hope for now is that we can soon reach the normal we once knew.