OHS goes back to normal

Heaven Parson, Staff Writer

With the start of the new school year, many changes have come to OHS that students have not experienced in almost two years. OHS students have adapted to the daily life of living in a pandemic to the point that it became the new normal. As COVID-19 spread worldwide and slowly took the lives of millions, there were some unexpected changes. 

In March of 2020, OHS students and staff were sent home for spring break not knowing the short vacation from school would last for eight months. Later that year, in October, students were allowed to return to school, albeit with many restrictions in place. While at home, students were on Zoom for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, switching throughout the year between in-person and online. Many students have expressed that online school has affected their education and how well they are doing this year. 

“It definitely did affect my education because I remember a lot of freshman year catching up and having to relearn stuff because we didn’t do much online,” said Georgia Healey, junior. 

When students are learning online there is no real way for teachers to make sure they are doing their work. It is very common for kids to not do work and not pay attention.

“Everything is based on interaction and communication and when you’re online it’s easy for students to disappear. It is difficult,” said Michel Candela, French teacher.

The lack of interaction built a barrier between students and teachers making it harder to communicate and interact with each other. It took time for everyone to adapt to a school with limited socialization. Contact was controlled by strict seating assignments for contact tracing, two hour block periods, one-way hallways, and six feet of social distancing.

“I’m glad that I started school when everything is normal because the thought of this school under COVID restrictions is scary,” said Amanda McCormick, freshman. “At my old school it was like this, but OC is much larger, so it sounds stressful.”

There have been many changes within the new school year, having all six periods in one day being one of them. Last year, a typical day was either an ‘A’ day or a ‘B’ day which consisted of three classes that were each two hours long. This limited the amount of contact between students making it harder for COVID-19 to spread throughout the school.

“The two hour block schedule was super hard to adjust to at first but by the end of the year I ended up liking it because I had time to do all my work and I got to spend more time with friends in classes that I had with them,” Healey said.

Many students feel like one of the positives about the block schedule was the ability to talk to friends for longer periods of time and having more to talk about.

“Making friends was easier last year because I was with the person for so long and [having] that day [inbetween] would always give us something to talk about,” said Hailey Edlebeck, sophomore. “I feel like it’s harder having all my classes in one day because everything is so fast paced.” 

The pandemic not only affected the students, but also the teachers. The sudden changes forced teachers to accommodate their classrooms to make sure their students were safe. Social distancing was enforced into the learning environment also resulting in less group-work and interaction. Although limitations have eased up amongst the school, it has not stopped some teachers from still abiding by the CDC COVID-19 guidelines. 

“I do it because it’s not over yet. There are still people dying every day,” Candela said. “It doesn’t stop us from doing group activities, but the CDC does recommend that we don’t stay together for more than 15 minutes.”