OHS united as one after a full year


Designed by Olivia Shaw

As districts are getting able to bring students back together, the choices are limited for students.

Olivia Shaw, Writer

March 16, 2020 marked the beginning of a long and rough road for OHS and schools across the nation. This was the day that school went to an all distance learning format for the first time in history. This also set up many unknowns for the upcoming school year in the fall of 2020. Fast forward to present day March 2021, school is in a hybrid model. The week after spring break will mark the beginning of students at OHS going to school four days a week, but with everyone together again. On March 30, 2021 students will have the opportunity to go back to school with everyone, excluding the students that choose to stay distance learning or transfer to distance learning. 

As OHS gets closer to the return date, students in grades 9-12 are facing many challenges and emotions. Having everyone come back to school as quickly as possible is a goal that has always been in eye sight for the district, taking the time to figure out what this was going to look like was the first step. Many safety measures will change along with stress levels. Senior Cheryl Smith says, “I’m worried that my stress levels will rise with the change in schedule. I’m also worried about numbers climbing again and having more of my senior year taken away from me.”

For many students, their senior year has been anything but normal. Coming back to school presents a possibility of an outbreak, which could make their senior year change even more by affecting their graduation. Junior Emelia Marks says, “I think it’s a common worry among students that there could be another outbreak and we would return to all distance learning.” The shared feeling within the student body is the fear of having to go back to distance learning, this method of learning is disliked by many students and staff.  Ms. Tratz says, “It would be tough if numbers went back up and we had to go back and forth between hybrid and ‘all in’ again.” 

Going beyond the mixed emotions of the students and staff, students were not able to have a say in whether or not they wanted to come back to school. Or even if we were coming back to school too soon with both groups of students. This opinion is crucial as students will be the  most affected by this change. Junior Hillary Haarstad says, “Yes, especially with coming back after spring break and coming in contact with those who have traveled.” Returning back to school after a long vacation will present a health worry within a generous amount of people. In contrast to Haarstad, sophomore Callie Kruetter says, “No, we need to be back in person with how bad people’s mental health is getting.” Times Magazine’s article Teen Mental Health Has Suffered During the U.S. COVID-19 Pandemic, says that there was a 100% increase in mental health disorder from switching between the different  versions of learning. Students and even teacher’s mental health is getting drained fast. 

Along with students being able to come to school four days a week, students will also get to choose if they want to either go fully online or in person. This is one of the only choices that the students get a say in. The ability to see friends will be a big contributor when students make the choice of to stay in person or go online. Junior Joey Dub says, “I will stay in school, because I want to see my friends.” In agreement with Dub, Haarstad says, “I’ll stay, because I want to be with the rest of my classmates.”  Currently, students are in two groups and many of them aren’t able to be with their friends at school. Aside from wanting to be with friends, students are also wanting the rest of the year to be normal. Marks says, “I will stay in person, because I’m ready to return to school with everyone and have things begin to go back to normal.” By going back to school for four days a week, OHS will be one step closer to returning to five days of school a week. 

Bringing everyone back together is the overarching goal that people are hoping to achieve within the next few months. Despite the desperate want of returning to normal as quickly as possible, the issue at hand is still if students are returning to school together too soon. By both groups coming together, different environments will be merging. This could create a health risk for everyone involved. If the district were to wait until next year to merge everyone, then by that time people that want the vaccine will have it and it will reduce the risk of spreading the virus.