In March of 2020, over 50 million students were impacted across the U.S. by the change to remote learning. In fall of 2020, Wellesley Public Schools went hybrid. As of April 2021, the high school opened its doors to being fully in-person again.
And just like that, the 2020-21 school year comes to a close as summer makes its way around the corner. From the months of hybrid schooling to online after school activities, this year has been unexpected and forced everyone to learn to be flexible.
Before the 2020-21 school year began, school administrators knew that they wanted to make this year as close to normal as possible. This goal was, though ambitious, one of the top objectives of the school administration, just below the safety of students.
“We knew that was going to be really tough because school is all about connection to humans, and when you’re forced to be in an environment where you take away so much of that connection through a platform where you need to use Zoom, or learn remotely, or only have a certain amount of people in a certain amount of space, recreating that environment that we were so used to and loved and thrived in wasn’t going to be possible in the moment,” said Mr. Collin Shattuck, Assistant Principal of Perrin House.
For a lot of students, the first day of remote learning was new and unnatural. Adjusting to breakout rooms and having cameras on was a common theme.
“[Zoom classes] were so strange! Joining classes full of kids I hadn’t seen in over six months was nerve racking. Putting myself out there on zooms felt so weird because I didn’t know how everyone else was feeling,” said Izzy Mckay ’24.
However, an aspect of the school year experience that wasn’t lost due to the pandemic and remote learning was the relationships forged between students and teachers at the high school. Though the start was difficult due to the little time at school, the school year is coming to an end with strong connections.
“I think what we were able to hold onto was how strong our relationships with our teachers and students are. And even though it was challenging for teachers and students to get to know each other earlier on, I didn’t see anyone giving up on that challenge because it was hard,” said Shattuck.
In April of 2021, when everyone — students and staff, returned to the building, many people began to feel optimistic.
“The first day of everyone in the building was a really positive day for me. The energy was so high, both in the classroom and just the building in general, which was so much fun,” said Kady Bedard ’21.
Many senior events were cancelled or scaled down this year. With that, many seniors felt that the close to their high school career diverged from what they thought it would be. From beginning school through Zoom classes to ending the year with a sudden rush of events, many seniors reflect that their high school finale was unique and unexpected.
“For myself and many students in my grade, we talked about not feeling like “true seniors” until later this spring with college decisions and more senior events. The fall was such a strange start, we never felt like we had that benchmark transition between junior and senior year. I do feel like my grade has missed out on a lot, but instead of dwelling on the past I am more focused on the future and making college the best it can be,” said Bedard.