Return to Regular School Schedule Met with Mixed Enthusiasm


Cushing Principal, Donna Moffat

Students at Cushing Elementary School are excited to return to school full-time

As the vaccine rollout continues to progress, the idea of going back to school full-time is becoming a reality within the district. A few weeks ago, the School Committee determined elementary students in Scituate will be back to school fully in-person on Monday, March 29th. This decision has elicited a variety of reactions from all ages of Scituate students, especially as middle and high school students anticipate returning to full-time, in-person learning.

Student opinions about going back to school full time are crucial. Regardless of the responses to going back to school–whether positive or negative–this input is essential as students will be impacted to the greatest extent. Therefore, it’s important to consider students’ feelings and opinions to make the transition the best it can be. While we are still in the midst of a pandemic, naturally, some students are concerned about returning to school. However, other students, in particular at the elementary level, have mostly positive thoughts.  

Students at Scituate High School have adapted to the hybrid schedule, and many students don’t want to return to five days of in-person instruction so quickly. SHS junior Kiera Reidy is nervous, noting that when we come back, students will need to adapt more than teachers, and teachers may not give students the adequate time needed to make the transition. Reidy feels that junior year is already so difficult, and considering all of the changes to learning styles this year, it has made it especially hard. Reidy explained how the hybrid schedule works for her because she is “a student who loves to be independent and is motivated to get all [her] work done within the school day due to extra time [she] has.”

Junior Delaney Sandner shared a similar thought process, explaining that she is worried about the mental health of students coming back to school full-time. According to Sandner, many students are already struggling, so she is worried two more full days of school may cause people to be more fatigued, which could be counterproductive. Clara Sullivan, another junior at Scituate High School, is somewhat nervous about safety precautions. She thinks “the decision is being rushed and that with people closer together the virus would spread more.” With the new three feet standards of social distancing between desks in school, you could get the virus from purely sitting next to another student. 

In Mr. Gross’s B block physics class, 0 out of 11 of the people surveyed want to go back to school full-time. This may be a popular sentiment at SHS, as many students feel they should finish out the year with the hybrid schedule they have become accustomed to. 

Students at Gates Middle School appear to be right in the middle with their opinions. Some students don’t want to go back full time, while others are excited. One 8th grade student from the middle school stated how he was struggling with being focused during online school and is excited to be back in person with all of his friends. Another current 7th grader explained they are seated by class in the lunchroom, which she hoped would change as restrictions began to be lifted. Although she was somewhat nervous about the return full-time, she hopes it will allow her to see–and eat with–more of her friends. She brings up an interesting point asking, “What will happen to the Cohort C people? Will they be in school or not?” There is much uncertainty for students at this time. Times have been tough, and being without social interaction as a middle schooler can be extremely difficult. 

Unlike middle and high school students, elementary school children appear to be overwhelmingly in favor of going back to school full-time. Students are looking forward to having lunch and recess, as these are the fun and memorable aspects of elementary school. Cushing Elementary School second-grader CJ Tarantino explained how he is in a class with only eight people throughout his entire school day. This repetition can be difficult and motivates the students to want to come back in full time. Cushing students Matthew Mercurio, Allis Mcloughlin, Mallie McLoughlin, Kelvey Nylen, and Patrick Spinale shared similar opinions. They miss seeing their friends, and they are eager to return fully to see more familiar faces. They also agreed it is easier to learn and have fun at school while being in person. The elementary students are all eager for their return date, and they can’t wait to be back in school on their normal schedule.  

Despite the mixed opinions throughout the school district concerning the return to in-person learning, it is important for students to continue to carry a positive and optimistic attitude about the future.