The halls of Manchester Essex Regional Middle High School are lively again, with arrows pointing students in the right direction in order to maintain physical distance.
Hallway chatter is back. Students approach their friends and teachers from a distance, eager to catch up.
Approximately 78 percent of high school students and about 90 percent of middle school students opted to return to in-person school on Monday, April 12. The remainder chose to continue school remotely.
Junior Owen Bappe returned to the high school under the hybrid model, which began in January. He said he prefers the return to in-person learning over the hybrid model.
“I don’t feel as… alone as I did before,” Bappe said.
There are more people in the building, which gives learning a more “classroom feel,” he said. “I like coming into school to get the structure again,” Bappe said.
Senior Hattie Wilson did not participate in the hybrid model but chose to return to the high school on April 12.
“It’s been good to… see friends, even at a distance, and nice to get out of my room,” she said. Wilson said she missed the feeling of in-person school, which she feels is present with the return of more students.
High school science department chair Kristin Umile said some of her classes have full
in-person attendance, and some have half of the students attending over Zoom.
“That’s the biggest difference that I’ve seen that makes me have to think about how I have to adjust what I’m doing in each class,” she said.
“I think that, with time, it’s going to get easier and smoother, and I’m psyched to be back with kids and hear sound and have conversations,” Umile said.