Students Contemplate the Start of School 2020


Madeline Kwan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It’s been the longest hiatus from campus since anyone can remember. Many are anticipating the return to school. For the first time since March, students will be able to see their friends and teachers once again.

ODA will be taking every precautionary measure necessary to ensure student and faculty safety. Major changes that will impact everyone immediately are mask requirements, daily temperature checks with thermal scanners, pre-packed lunches, a flow pattern for students to walk in hallways, sanitized classrooms throughout the day, and classroom modifications such as dramatically spaced seating.

The classrooms have been reconfigured so that every student will sit at least six feet apart. In addition, there will be some classes taught outside, more furniture, hand sanitizer in every room, and new air filtration systems such as Hepa filters and ultraviolet light placed in the air conditioning units. 

Despite these changes, some families will opt to continue online school. Families will have the freedom to decide what they feel is best for themselves. Whatever choice people make, there will be benefits and downsides to online school and physical school.

Senior Grace McCollum says she prefers physical school because she “associates [her] home with downtime,” and school is where she has “the mindset to work hard.”

McCollum talks about how a downside to online school is how easy it can be to lose track of time while watching movies or sleeping. But while at school, students are in an environment that helps stimulate their learning. 

Olivia Millin, a sophomore, has similar views about face-to-face school. She likes being around her classmates and seeing her teachers in person which can be a limitation of virtual school. Going to physical school allows Millin to work with “hands-on projects.” In addition, she believes that learning through a computer can be more difficult and less exciting.

Despite her preference for physical school, she recognizes that one benefit of online school is the guaranteed safety for everyone. She also “sincerely appreciates all the effort the faculty provided to make the online teaching system entertaining to keep our attention.”

The teachers ensure that the students have the best opportunities and resources to learn through online and physical school. 

Some students, however, say that they prefer online school. One rising junior would like to do online school, but she realizes that she doesn’t “know the personal situation of everyone” and she “understands how physically sending your kid to school would be a better alternative as long as the proper measures are in place.” She will not be attending school, but she expects that “the online option will be in the minority.”

For Freshman Joseph Clarke, another benefit to online school is that learning virtually allows extra time during the day. However, he also stated that he has no partiality towards online school vs physical school, except that he would like to see his friends. 

No matter which option they prefer, many students recognize that this school year will be unusual to ensure the safety of faculty and students. Some students have different expectations for the new year. 

Clarke expects that “we will spend at least the entire first semester with [the school’s] current plan” due to Covid-19.

As a rising freshman, Clarke feels “a little nervous about entering high school at this time because there are so many people sick in Florida.” 

Other students, like the rising junior, expect “more caution” with the level of cleanliness at the school. At the same time, Millin anticipates regular social distancing.

McCollum, on the other hand, does not have “many expectations because [Covid-19] is so unknown.” Despite her preference for physical school, McCollum plans to do school virtually in the beginning.

However, as a rising senior and regarding college admissions, she knows that college counseling will be able to assist the students partaking in online school. She has said that “I am now confident I will meet all my deadlines and be accepted into a college that is best for me!”

While students may have different expectations and new adjustments for the coming school year, every student I interviewed shared the same hopes. For example, Millin wishes for “things [to] mostly stay the same as last year.”

Similarly, the rising junior wishes to “maintain as much normalcy as possible while also staying healthy” and to have “our sense of community stay intact” during this convoluted time. They all hope to see their friends and to attend school events.

With school starting on August 25th, every student needs to have their summer reading book completed beforehand. Summer reading book talks will be held Friday, August 28th.

In addition to summer reading, there is extra math summer work for all students and required work for the different AP classes.

For more updates on the new school year, check your emails from the school administrators and your advisor.

In case you have any questions about the upcoming school year, down below is some more information that the school sent to every parent.