Freshmen class: More affected than others by pandemic

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Shanyis Jernigan

Freshmen research academy pathways in Mrs. Gahan’s College & Career Readiness class.

   Ever since late March, the lives of everyone at Guilford, and by extension the lives of everyone in the world, have changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Coming back to school in early September was a huge game changer for every student at Guilford; the methods of teaching have been altered drastically due to the pandemic. 

   Although every grade level has been affected, the group who has arguably been affected the most is the freshman, as this is their first year in a high school environment. Having to adapt to the high school lifestyle under such unfavorable circumstances has proven to be incredibly difficult, with the first challenge being whether to choose in-person or fully remote learning.

   “This school year has been crazy so far to say the least,” said Blake Calcione, an in-person freshman. “But I’m just glad that we get to come to school.”

   Remote students, on the other hand, work from home the majority of the time, although sometimes they might work from other remote locations. For many, working remotely allows them to take it slower and work at their own pace.

   “This school year is really weird in my opinion,” said freshman Malaika Khan, who is taking a fully remote schedule. “I wished for it to be way different, but I honestly don’t really mind how it turned out to be. I feel like I’m not as rushed as I would’ve been if I was in school. But the only con is that I learn better in person than online. It took some adapting, but overall, I mostly like being full-time remote.”

   Working from home can open the door to how well and efficiently a student can work. Having no specific schedule to follow allows students to not only work at their own pace, but also requires them to prioritize assignments from the deadlines school websites provide.

   “I feel the new school year is definitely different from the year before, but the online part of schoolwork actually works good with the in-school activities,” said Blake Nelson, an in-person freshman. “I think the at-home schoolwork is easier to do, not because the difficulty is higher or lower, but you aren’t confined to a certain hour you have to do it in. I personally think that because you only have to follow the bell schedule for two days a week, it makes it so you can do your work when you feel comfortable.”

   With a total of 502 freshmen at Guilford this year, it’s about an even number of students who are full-time-remote and in-person. According to Mrs. Kristen Roberts, Freshman Academy counselor, there are 248 in-person students, or 49.4%, and 254 full-time-remote students, or 50.5%.

   “It is very different, there are benefits and minuses to being online,” said Shamir Jernigan, an in-person freshman. “In some ways, I really like it because it provides flexibility to your schedule, which allows you to stretch your day out longer, or shrink your day shorter. But in other ways, it can be difficult online due to technical difficulties. But for people who do in-person, you always have your classic way of doing school, which everyone appreciates. So I have mixed feelings about the new year, but I’m excited to see how it goes.”