Students reflect on their first week of school

Leo Tobbe

The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly ended the JCPS school year in March of 2020. After nearly two years, Manual students have returned to full in-person instruction, sparking a wide variety of reactions from the student body.

Shelby Johnson (9, VA) says they have had a generally good experience with their first year at Manual so far. “I’ve made new friends, I get along with most of the teachers,” says Johnson, “I think I’m doing good with the work so far. I’m not too worried about falling behind.”

One student, Thu Do (12, MST) enjoyed the change to an extent. “Overall, it’s nice to be back in school. I missed seeing everyone’s faces since we were quarantined.”

However, she expressed her concern about some of the school’s COVID protocols: “When I walk through center hall, it’s concerning. Everything’s pretty close quarters, and it’s hard to stay three feet apart at that time,” Do said. 

Do is not the only student concerned about COVID. In fact, several students have expressed concerns regarding high traffic areas like center hall in particular. Phoebe Haverstick (11, YPAS) is another one of those students. “We are all very anxious. . .  being in a high populated area with people who might not be vaccinated is terrifying, even though I am fully vaccinated,” Haverstick said.

“I mean, the hallways are ridiculously crowded,” Brianna Ash (10, VA) said. “But finally being able to socialize with friends has been amazing.”

Lauren Faber (10, HSU) is also staying optimistic about the coming academic year. “There were just a couple of classes where it was hard to keep up with while being online, but I stayed on top of things, so I’m not too worried.”

For many students like Ash and Faber, this is their first in-person year of high school. After the end of middle school and a freshman year spent in isolation, the class of 2024 is in a unique position entering sophomore year with little to no high school experience.