Online students share mixed experiences since reopening


Rachel Schwartz/Tower

Juniors sit in Masters Hall, looking at online students displayed on the whiteboard. In the first few days of reopening, students found that teachers struggled with juggling both online and in-person students. Since then, many believe that the situation has improved considerably.

Kyla Barantsevitch, Web Editor

Since stay-at-home orders were first issued in March, it has become clear that returning to normal may not be the case for a long  time. This became even more true when over the summer, Masters issued an email which stated the school decided to remain remote for September, however on Sep. 24 it was then announced that in-person classes would resume on Oct. 5. While many were eager to return, there have been a number of day students who have chosen to continue with remote learning.

 Due to pressure, many colleges and high schools went back to their brick and mortar institutions, albeit with changes in procedures and protocols. However, students at Masters received an email in late July detailing the school’s plan not to resume in-person classes in September, and to wait until Sep. 30 to decide whether to send students back. 

With the onset of fall, there have been a rise of cases in New York City specifically, which is in close proximity to Masters. New York City is now averaging 643 new cases each day, an uptick of 19 percent from two weeks ago. 

The school hasn’t been immune and to date, there have been four recorded instances of Covid-19 on campus, with the Middle School even being shut-down for a week after it was announced on Oct. 8 that someone had tested positive. Many day students cite this as their main reason to decide to remain remote.

 Zachary Battleman, a senior, said he decided to remain remote because he believes that we don’t really know what is going to happen, going into the next few months. “I admittedly have been a little concerned that we might be going backwards to where we were a few months ago, and I don’t really want to be a part of that,” he said. 

Sophomore Chris Nappo echoed a similar sentiment. “I didn’t want to go back to school and be the first kind of test to go back- let’s say that there was an infection, I didn’t want to be among those group of kids, constantly worrying if I got COVID-19 or not,” he said.

Yet despite this worry, many who remained remote also mentioned the conflict they were feeling over their decision. Remaining remote was not going to be the same as when everyone was online, and they would be facing a major transition.

Senior Carly Grizzaffi said, “Something that was really concerning was that my mental health could potentially worsen because of a lack of social interaction with my friends on a daily basis.”

However, Sophomore Christopher Gatty was in a unique situation that prompted him not to feel this way.  While he mentions that he too was initially unsure with how the school’s plan was going to work, he was stranded in The Caribbean for five months due to border restrictions and, “I didn’t have to go through [staying at home] when I was away so I thought coming back and staying home wasn’t such a bad idea.” 

An additional worry by the students was that remote students would be forgotten by the teachers, and would have a hard time participating in class. 

However, as the weeks go on with the new schedule, most feel as though students and teachers are adapting better to it, despite technical issues. Grizzaffi further mentions that utilizing the use of student feedback proved beneficial in the spring, and she hopes that the school will continue to use that going forward. 

Overall, while there have been continued downsides of staying online, such as a negative effect on mental health, lack of social interaction and the increased screen time, Battleman, Grizzaffi, Gatty and Nappo expressed that it wasn’t worth risking their health and safety to go back to school at this time. 

That isn’t to say that the some students interviewed feel as though the school mismanaged their handling of the pandemic, as they were almost unanimous in saying they thought the school has done a great job in their response. Battleman said, “I think as a plan overall it is great, I think in the scheme of what the school could be doing, they are doing virtually everything they can.” 

Gatty furthers, “from what the little knowledge that everyone had [in regards to COVID], I think the school handled it really well.”

Yet in the end, students interviewed said they felt as though remaining cautious is the best course of action. As to when they plan to return, Grizzaffi mentioned said,  “I am hoping that things will become more steady and stable and I will feel more comfortable going back to school everyday.”