A return to school: How teachers and students feel being back at in person school


Johnny Martinez Duran

Parkdale students rush to get to their next period class after being in person for weeks.

September 8th, 2021 marked the first day of school for the approximately 136,500 students of PGCPS. Unlike any other first days of school, this one was especially unique. The day marked the end of a long quarantine period for many students and teachers in PGCPS due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to in person learning.

“I much prefer being back in the classroom because it makes it easier to connect with students and it’s easier seeing each other,” said Dr. Peter Herz, AP world history teacher.

However, many other teachers across the country have shared their concerns and fears of returning back to their classrooms. An article written by Anna Brand from NBC news shows several anonymous confessions submitted by teachers over going back to in person learning such as:“I feel like a sacrificial lamb” and “ National parks and Monuments had closures/restrictions to restrooms/visitor centers, but is it okay to put 30 kids in a classroom?”. 

The concern over health and safety is one shared by many teachers and students. This concern comes with the rise of COVID-19 cases which could be attributed to the Delta variant. Along with this, about 127 COVID-19 outbreaks have been identified across schools in Maryland alone and just after the first week of school in Montgomery county nearly 1,000 students and adults had to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. 

Despite the health concerns, some students are leaving it up to change.

“I just don’t really care much. I mean at this point if I’m gonna get sick I’m gonna get sick,” said senior Ana Guevara, “Although I do hope it does not become an issue because I hate online and I do not want to go back to that”.

Masked students make their way through crowded halls at in-person learning resumes.
Masked students make their way through crowded halls at in-person learning resumes.

Going back into virtual learning is a very realistic possibility especially with the number of students attending Parkdale High school alone.

It is estimated that the freshmen class alone at Parkdale consists of roughly 1,000 students. It is no secret that at times the hallways  can become really crowded, especially around choke points such as the stairwells and the annex entrance/exit.

“They could regulate movement through the halls better but I think that’s about it,” said Guevara. “Not much you can do in a school with so many kids in it.” 

A similar sentiment is shared by Dr. Hertz who said “The school has acted in good faith, I think we are facing a physical impossibility and that it is very difficult to keep distance.” Dr. Herz later went on to say that although he follows all the rules, it is very difficult to maintain social distance of 30 students in a classroom designed for a smaller number of students. 

Returning to in-person learning has seen its struggles as both students and teachers are adjusting to the new normal and being back in school, after being in a virtual setting for so long,  all the while making sure that their health and that the health of their peers and or students is good as well.