28 students and seven faculty members returned to campus for the first time this year, the first day of in-person school after Spring Break. Some members of the community, like Upper School Photography Teacher Rachel Langosch, hesitated to return to campus until they received their COVID-19 vaccination.
“I have a family member that is at high risk so it was only when she got vaccinated, along with me and my circle, that I could even consider the possibility of a return,” Langosch said.
Similarly, Upper School English Teacher Stephanie Andreassi waited until she was fully vaccinated before agreeing to teach in person.
Andreassi said, “I felt that there were risks going back to the classroom if I wasn’t vaccinated, so the most important thing for the safety of my classroom, and my personal health, was getting vaccinated first.”
For many new students that had spent the fall semester online, arriving on campus after Spring Break meant meeting students and seeing teachers for the first time. International student Gabriela Machado awaited a Visa that would let her into the United States, hopeful that she could meet her fellow classmates before the end of Senior year.
Machado said, “It’s really hard to get to know people through breakout rooms, so being in person and meeting people has been amazing.”
After the first semester, the ability to participate in spring sports proved to be an additional incentive for other online students to return to campus. In both the fall and winter, athletic games did not take place at Masters in an effort to follow state health and safety precautions. Given the newly announced possibility for games and meets to resume, students are excited at the prospect of a normal season.
Sophomore Chris Nappo who plays baseball expressed excitement at the prospect of playing sports this spring.
“One thing I really missed while doing remote school was playing baseball with a team, so it has been great to be back playing a sport that I love,” Nappo said. “I wasn’t sure that it was going to be possible but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Because these students and faculty members have been online since the beginning of the school year, being back in person meant meeting their teacher for the first time, or vice versa. Although they had communicated virtually, meeting teachers (or students) in person was a highlight of returning to campus for many students. Sophomore Alex Nappo described the meeting experience as a very unique one.
Alex Nappo said, “Online, you can’t really tell [the teacher’s] height or what they really look like. It was pretty cool seeing them in person and they were also seeing me for the first time which was fun.”
After their return, students also noted that walking around campus revived the feeling of community that had been lacking while online.
Sophomore Jaden Bascon attended school in-person from September to November, then switched to online through the winter, but ultimately returned in-person after spring break.
Bascon noted, “Being in-person makes you feel so much closer to teachers and students, and it was great to have that part of Masters back.”