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Take Two: Students Finally Return to In-Person School

By: Dominique Behar (11th Grade)

After months of online school, sophomore Sara Reinberg saw returning to in-person school as daunting, especially with new rules and new schedules. But as she walked through the front gates on Monday, her fear instantly dissipated as she realized the atmosphere of school remained, even with all the new guidelines. 

“When I was first walking into school, I was a little nervous of how everything would turn out because of the new rules,” said Reinberg. “But as soon as I saw my friends, I knew everything would be okay. I went to get my temperature checked, I was given a goodie bag by Student Council, and got my picture taken. Then I went upstairs with my friends for Davening.”

With desks spaced six feet apart and tape on the floor to indicate safe distances, students and faculty were expected to abide by social distancing guidelines. Even with these additions, many felt that it will take time to adapt to social distancing. 

“The first day of school is always a lot but as time goes on, even within the first week, it will being to normalize,” said Mary Berkowitz (12th Grade). “Social distancing is harder to keep than other things for certain people, but I do hope that the people who struggle with it will learn to abide by it because it’s very important.”

In addition to other new rules, masks were another crucial part of the reopening. While many find it difficult, wearing a mask at all times except lunch is strongly enforced within the building. 

“I think that the mask rule in Hebrew Academy makes a lot of sense even though it might seem annoying,” said Owen Ebner (10th). “They’re needed for safety reasons and I think the school has been doing a good job enforcing that. On the first day, every single kid that I saw was wearing a mask.”

As the day progressed, students became extremely concerned about lunch locations. As no one is permitted to eat inside because eating requires everyone to take off their masks, finding a place for every grade to eat was a struggle. Due to this issue, many students were unhappy with their lunch situations.

“I think that lunch on the first day was very unorganized for the juniors,” said Ella Shwirtz (11th). “We were supposed to sit on the grass, but it was wet. It was a little disappointing but as the week went on, it got a little better. We got a designated spot on the side of the patio but hopefully the situation will continue to get more organized.”

Students also had the option to remain at home on Zoom. This new hybrid model was very difficult for some students, especially on the first day. 

“For my first day on zoom, it was very difficult to be honest. I expected it to go very smoothly but I was very stressed. Some classes didn’t even go on their Zoom, which I understand because there were technical difficulties,” said Shiraz Bachar (11th). “It wasn’t the same as being at school in person. Hopefully it will get better with time.”

Even with all the setbacks and regulations, students are overjoyed to finally be back in the building after nearly eight months at home. 

“I was really happy to finally be back,” said Ben Reinberg (12th). “Obviously I’m not happy with all the new rules, but we need to stay safe and I know the students and staff are doing the best they can to make things as normal as possible.”

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