Jesselle Ann Morales
For the first three quarters of the school year, Waipahu High School students have been learning virtually. During fourth quarter, the school prepared students to come back to campus and released a new schedule.
On March 22, Waipahu High welcomed back groups of seniors and exceptional students who opted into on-campus learning in their designated letter groups. Starting April 19, students of all other grades who opted into in-person learning were able to return to campus on their designated days.
Students only attend in-person classes during the designated letter day for their group. Group A attends on Monday, Group B Tuesday, C Wednesday, and D Thursday. The periods are rotated every week, so students attend their periods 2, 4 and 6 one week on their designated day, then periods 1, 3, 5, and 7 the next week.
The school has taken safety precautions for students to come back to school, such as enforcing social distancing of a minimum of six feet and setting a limit of ten or fewer students in each class. Classrooms and other areas throughout the school are equipped with hand sanitizers and disinfecting supplies. Places where lines will most likely form such as the cafeteria have designated waiting areas and social distancing markers, and posters around campus remind students to keep their distance and wear their masks.
Students and teachers alike are adjusting to in-person classes after months of virtual learning. Sophomore Raeanna Baron says that attending school in person is “weird and different,” but “I like it better than online because I get the attention and help that I need.”
Science teacher Brian Birdsall says, “I prefer having some kids around so it makes it more like school other than being in a bubble by myself.”
Birdsall prefers in-person learning as it allows teachers to help many students “get back on track.” Reflecting on the school year, Birdsall says, “Sometimes change gives you different perspectives on things and that was kind of a positive. But think there was a period of adjustment for everybody and then things got a little bit harder.”