Students React to Greylock Reopening Plan

Photo+Courtesy+of+The+Berkshire+Eagle

Photo Courtesy of The Berkshire Eagle

Emma Sandstrom, Managing Editor

On Wednesday, September 2nd, Superintendent Robert Putnam announced the Mount Greylock reopening plan via Zoom meeting. 

Students will begin remote classes starting on September 16th, and will remain at home until October 2nd. Mount Greylock will then pursue a hybrid model of learning. Students who choose to participate in this hybrid model will go into school two days a week. The grades will be split in half by last name: Group A will have in-person learning on Mondays and Tuesdays, while Group B will come into school Thursdays and Fridays. Each group will attend remote classes on the days they are not present in the building. Classes will not rotate during the day as they have in previous years. 

“Personally I’m not a fan of the reopening plan. There are going to be risks no matter what we do, but I think it would be the best for students to learn in person,” said Mount Greylock Senior Emma Hayward. 

 Sophomore Jane Skavlem said, “I don’t like the plan of starting fully remote. I think that [the school administration] had plenty of time to figure out a good way to go back to school because we even delayed the start of school.”   

The lack of communication from the school was also a popular point of frustration. 

“It feels like the school has had no communication with us,” Hayward said. “Especially during this time, I think the school should have been very active in trying to make a plan. It seems very last minute and even now I’m not completely clear on what’s even happening.”

Junior Josie Dechane said that although she likes Mount Greylock’s remote learning decision, “They should have started to plan earlier. The school should have considered that this is where we would be in September and thought it out a little more in advance.”

Although several students are frustrated with the reopening plan, many respect the schools ultimate decision. 

Freshman Celina Savage said, “I think Mount Greylock did the best they could according to guidelines.” If it were her choice, she “would have made the same decision.”

Senior Pablo Santos said that he intends on staying remote until he feels as though it is safe for him to return: “I want to attend school safely because being a young adult with bad asthma as well as living with a guardian who has a heart disease is scary.” 

Despite differing opinions on Mount Greylock’s reopening plan, most students seem to have reservations towards virtual learning. 

“Quarter four was really only bearable because it was pass or fail. I’m concerned about grades and also not being able to meet teachers one on one to figure stuff out,” Savage said. 

Other students echoed these concerns. “It was hard to ask questions and get direct answers from teachers [last spring],” said Skavlem. “I am worried that the online learning will be disorganized.”

After an extended period of time away from traditional school, students also worry about adjusting to a set routine, especially paired with the challenges of virtual learning. 

Hayward said, “Students including myself might have a hard time getting back into things. We’ve been away from school for so long and especially because we are starting remote it will be even harder to get back into the school year.” 

O’keefe says he worries about the computer based assignments in general because he “experienced technical difficulties with submitting work last year.”

Many of these fears stem from an unsatisfactory fourth quarter of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Dechane said, “Teachers were thrown into [virtual learning] last year. I had a few classes that would do optional zooms, a few that did once every two weeks and a few that did up to three a week. It was confusing.” 

Savage said, “I didn’t like how we didn’t have a set block schedule. The zoom calls were so spread out. I had algebra on Tuesdays and history on Mondays. It is very confusing and hard to stay on track.”

Students did share suggestions for how the new school year could be most beneficial

Santos said, “I want the classes to be way more serious and not as much as a joke. I believed [last quarter] was just a waste of time last year and did not benefit anyone.”

Dechane said, “This year, teachers should focus on keeping it as interactive and social as possible. Break out rooms were a cool feature in Zoom. Obviously we aren’t face to face, but trying to keep it feeling “normal” is going to be important.” 

Some recognized that students must also play a role in making the most out of the school year.

“I think students will have to step up and prepare themselves. It may be harder for some students than others.” O’keefe said.