All Day, Everyday

Parker Upper School Returns to Campus Five Days A Week


Photo credit: Arjun Kalra

Students return for class 5 days a week.

On Monday, April 19, Parker’s Upper School began gathering on campus to attend classes all day, five days a week for the first time since March 13, 2020. The various schedule changes up until this point have included hybrid classes, half day classes, and six online classes per day, making this switch back to a “normal” school day long anticipated. Whether this anticipated change is met with enthusiasm or disdain depends on the student and must take into account whether they are returning back to school or staying remote.

Fernando Degante is a sophomore who will continue to learn remotely while many of his classmates are returning to campus five days a week. “Personally, I feel like I am at a disadvantage because of how I remain online,” Degante said. “The schedule is something we all need to get used to, but I think it is manageable.”

Degante acknowledges that continuing to learn online while other students go back is proving to be difficult. “Honestly I can feel kind of left out because I am not in person,” Degante said. “I will see other people in class and just be left to watch them talk and even can sometimes not hear what people are saying which leads to not gathering much from some discussions.”

When talking about remote learning challenges, Degante said he believes that these issues mostly stem from technological problems rather than things teachers could be fixing, with the exception of certain scenarios. “I think teachers do a good job in including people who are online, however in some instances, teachers forgot to include online students in discussion,” Degante said. “When the teachers are talking,it is not always clear and sometimes the audio starts lagging.” 

“I feel awkward when I am asked to talk because I know my voice is being projected all throughout the classroom,” Degante said. “Also, we don’t get to participate in activities that require us to be in the room such as labs and group work.”

Danni Kaplan is a new Parker freshman who opted to return in person to school. “I think the transition at first was a little challenging just because I didn’t know where anything was,” Kaplan said. “It was nice to see everyone in the building, and everyone was really nice and showed me where my classes were.”

Quite different from Kaplan, Emma Jung is a Parker senior who has returned to campus for the final months of her last year attending Parker. “As a senior, it’s definitely a crazy experience knowing that my whole senior year practically was online,” Jung said. “I didn’t really have that feeling of being a senior.”

Jung attended the hybrid learning schedule, used before the switch to fully on-campus classes, but said that it felt weird only seeing her grade. The hybrid schedule included two half days per week in person, with classes alongside only half of your grade. “I’ve definitely enjoyed my time back in school,” Jung said. “During the hybrid schedule, I didn’t get to see all of my friends or even anyone in my grade really because it was just half of us.” 

In addition to being a new student, Kaplan recognized the increase in work challenges as well. “It was challenging at first as the workload did increase, and we went from meeting with classes three days to four days a week, but it definitely got smoother,” Kaplan said.

Jung focused on the tougher elements of the transition, having to do with physically returning to school, rather than the workload. “These school days have been a little more tiring,” Jung said, “just because I’m not used to waking up earlier in the morning, driving to school, and then doing a full day.” 

Kaplan said that many other new freshmen have been challenged with the return. “We don’t know the location of certain classes,” Kaplan said. “Navigating through the halls is a little challenging and also kind of frightening.” 

Jung had little to complain about and happily noted the best part of being back on campus included seeing friends, other grades, teachers, people she hadn’t seen since March, and feeling “a part of the Parker community again.” 

Although Kaplan has felt intimidated in some ways with the return to campus, it has also had a positive effect. “People have been really warm and welcoming,” Kaplan said. “It’s comforting knowing people who have already been at Parker their whole life or know what they are doing, are also kind of figuring out what they are doing because of COVID-19. I feel more part of a community in person.”