In late September, the Henry County Board of Education announced that all high schools would be moving into Phase Two of their phasing-in program. Phase Two consists of students returning into the school building in staggered days and according to the letter of their last names. A-M returned to school on Monday and Tuesday, while N-Z did on Thursday and Friday. Students also had the choice to stay exclusively remotely if they chose to do so.
“Honestly I didn’t have too much of a reaction at the time. I was expecting to be disappointed and for senior year to not go the way it was supposed to so it wasn’t much of a surprise. I guess I just decided that I was gonna try to make the best of it no matter how much the situation sucked,” Ella Bates, senior, said.
As soon as the Board of Education announced the new plan, emotions began to swirl, and many differing opinions became evident.
“I was excited to be able to come to school instead of staying at home all week,” Sydney Keener, sophomore, said.
While others believed that coming back to school for half the week brought about other issues.
“I like it in the sense that there’s more freedom but I hate not having the structure of in-person school. the week feels broken up and disconnected since it’s half and half,” Avery Walker, junior, said.
When students returned to school on September 28th for in-person learning, the experience was quite different from when they had left in March. All Henry County High Schools had implemented a mandatory mask mandate, one-way hallways, assigned seating at lunch, and designated bathroom breaks.
“I think they’re reasonable and I support them, Sure it kinda sucks [new rules] having to scale the entire school from class to class but if it helps reduce the chances of me getting it or spreading it, I’m all for it,” Walker said.
In addition to the new rules, the workload has also been a large part of determining many students’ opinions about online and in-person classes.
“[The assignments are] too much work,” Andrew Allen, freshman, said.
All in all, this school year will go down as being one of the most unique ever for many teachers and students. As phase 2 comes to end and students embark onto phase 4 (all students back, all days of the week), students continue to adapt to the special circumstances that surround them and continue to strive for excellence despite their conditions.