Transitions from Zoom to In-Person School

Shadowy Photo of a Single School Chair; in a Dark, Empty Hallway with a Single Source of Light in the Background

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Shadowy Photo of a Single School Chair; in a Dark, Empty Hallway with a Single Source of Light in the Background

The transition from online to in-person school has not been an easy one at Berkeley Carroll. As with many high schools across the country, there’s been a sense of amnesia regarding what “normal” life once was. The upperclasspeople, the classes of 2022 and 2023, have not experienced a full day of proper in-person school since March of 2020. With this in mind, I decided to ask our Executive Council presidents, Chloe P. (‘22) and Joseph G. (‘22), how they feel about this transition.


What did you like and dislike about being remote/hybrid for school in the past two years?


Chloe: “One thing I appreciated about remote learning was the flexibility that came with it. So for example, if I missed class or wasn’t feeling good I could look back at class recordings and catch up/not fall behind or even go to class but just have my camera off. Obviously, the main con to that was also looking at a screen for hours and hours on end as well as the lack of those little moments like in the atrium or in between classes where you’d get to say hi to people you didn’t typically see in your classes.”


Joseph: “There weren’t many things I liked about remote learning. Of course, being able to get some extra sleep was always nice, but the cons far outweighed the pros to me. Hybrid learning was a good balance, but it still not as nice as being full in person.”


What do you think could have been improved regarding remote learning?


Chloe: “I think there could have been a bit more consideration of how much screen time students were spending during those zoom days. For example, I don’t think students should have had three 50 minute classes in a row over zoom and then another one after lunch and then also be expected to spend (at least) 2 hours looking at a screen after classes to do homework. I really enjoyed the original schedule from my sophomore year where students had no more than three-ish classes per day, but on that same token I understand it might not have been feasible for an entire school year to be made up of three-classes-a-day school weeks on zoom.”


Joseph: “I always felt that the grade meetings and larger assemblies we had were often unnecessary. No one had their cameras on, and much of the information could have been summed up in an email.”


What did you miss about being in-person?


Chloe: “I missed physically seeing my friends everyday. I think the lack of physical touch (hugs, high fives, sneaky taps on the shoulders) was something that I surprisingly missed a lot. I also missed the after school walks I used to have with my friends as we headed home. That used to be one of the highlights of my day, but instead via Zoom all I had was funny goodbyes in the chat and then the closing of my screen.”


Joseph: “The thing I missed most was being in a physical classroom with my peers and teachers. It was rather depressing having school in my room; it felt like I was trapped. I realized how much I took for granted physically walking to school and walking in the hallways in between classes.”


What did you not miss about being in-person?


Chloe: “I did not miss having to wake up at 6 AM every day to get to school on time. One of the benefits of zoom was that it made the playing field easier in the sense that we could all roll out of bed 10 minutes before class and still make it on time.”


Joseph: “I realized how much in-person tests added to my stress load. I really enjoyed the transition to take-home tests. These help my learning but don’t add as much stress as timed assessments.”


What’s the thing you look forward to most about in-person school?


Chloe: “The thing I look forward to most about in-person school besides seeing friends and teachers is maybe morning meetings. I love making announcements with Josey in the morning and hearing about all the different happenings throughout BC.”


Joseph: “I look forward to having face-to-face interactions with students and teachers. I also look forward to small things, such as going out to lunch with friends, hanging out in the atrium, and walking to my classes.”


What do you want to get out of in-person school this year (especially for seniors)?


Chloe: “Just want to maximize my time with my classmates as much as possible. I want to take all the after school walks with my friends, have all the giddy early morning conversations in the atrium, give my friends snide looks in class when someone makes funny comments, all of the things I couldn’t do for two years over zoom. I also want to ensure seniors especially get to partake in all the old BC traditions seniors in the past had, such as spring intensive trips, a fun prom, Senior sweatshirts with nicknames, and different senior privileges all BC seniors in the past got to enjoy.”


Joseph: “I’d love to have as close to a normal year as possible. I know that this isn’t completely possible, but what I want most is just to spend time with my classmates and get the most I can out of this year, both socially and educationally.”


I feel that the EC presidents’ responses are generally very relatable for the Upper School student body. This shift back to “regular” school hasn’t been simple, and the sense of distance that came with it definitely hasn’t made it any better. Still, this hiatus from in-person school has allowed us lots of time for reflection, and this reflective period will help us as a community to shape this school year into the year we want it to be.