On Friday, February 19, when Academy invited 100% of its students back to campus, my life before the pandemic came to mind.
While campus may look different – with desks stationed 6 feet apart, mask-wearing, sanitizing stations by every entrance, guided class transitions over the intercom, and classrooms a bit colder than usual to accommodate ventilation – the pre-Covid-19 energy was the same.
I have been attending school 100% in-person since the beginning of this semester, but right away I recognized the difference on campus on Friday.
The Upper School no longer seemed like an eerie ghost town. On my way to first period, I noticed students excitedly stopping in the hallways to catch up with friends they have not had the chance to see during the hybrid format.
The impact of collaboration in math class was striking: instead of being in break out rooms from home, we, instead, turned to our classmates beside us. No longer being tentatively unmuting to talk, we now found ourselves excited to discuss the problem being posed.
Later in physics class, I smiled when — in a good way — lecture became a bit off topic. My classmates and I asked questions, both random and intriguing in a manner that we may not have had on Zoom, which enriched our understanding of the material.
In history and English, no one longer wondered, “Who is going to unmute first? Did she hear what I said through the Owl?” Rather, we were replacing those awkward online pauses with questions and an eagerness to participate.
It was also the little things:
Ms. Soderberg and Dr. Losambe throwing snowballs on the quad.
Hearing Ms. Bening’s classic “Heyy sweetie!” as she greeted kids in passing.
The return of Javi’s dance moves during Assembly.
Catching up with teachers while waiting in the lunch line.
Lounges bustling with activity.
Animated banter among classmates before the teacher starts class.
Having talked to friends from different schools who have been virtual all semester, I realized how lucky we are to go to school – and to do so safely.
Columbus Academy is an exception to other schools in Central Ohio. We are one of the few schools to have the infrastructure and opportunity to provide this reality.
Yet, we cannot take being in-person for granted. When both in and out of school, let’s continue to socially distance and responsibly wear masks. The longer we stay vigilant, the more we can experience this sense of normalcy and enjoy the small pleasures we missed when being online.
Thank you to our faculty and administration who have allowed us this privilege. Your unimaginable efforts are appreciated, and your commitment to academic excellence has made this year feel a little less isolating.
For our faculty and administration’s leadership, we are enormously grateful.