Comparing the Last Two Years at University School


University School prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brody Weinfurtner, Staff Writer

It has been nearly two years since the Covid-19 pandemic changed the ways schools were run. Different schools handled this new risk of sickness differently, with most closing down and shifting completely towards virtual learning. However, University School took on the daunting task of allowing students to participate in in-person learning. Despite students physically attending school, most students felt that last year was a difficult time and had a generally unpleasant experience. Many students pointed out more limited lunches and prolonged eighty-five minute classes as reasons for their negative experience.  Similarly, Junior Thomas Meyers said, “I hated sitting behind those plastic shields. They made it very difficult to socialize with other students.” Student Grayson Brooks said, “Long classes could get boring very easily, and it was difficult to stay engaged throughout the class.”

However, the opinions of virtual learners tended to be more diverse than their in-person counterparts. As sophomore Oliver Thomas stated, “I liked last year because it was relatively easy.” He continued to say that he liked when the school did go online because of the freedom that came with it. He said, “I liked being able to wake up later, and eating when I wanted was nice.” However, overall this opinion was not common among the student body. Junior Conner Piero shared a different opinion, saying “Online school was very isolating for me.” This opinion seems to be common when it comes to online school, as many students expressed this same sentiment of feeling disconnected when learning from home.

This year, however, is much different. US rolled back some of its stricter guidelines such as isolated lunches and eighty-five minute classes, both of which were aspects of last year that students liked the least. With normal length classes and a (somewhat) normal lunch, students are overall feeling much better about this year. As junior Caleb Kirkpatrick said, “this year is much better than last year. I like that we can see people more and hang around people more–It’s a lot less isolated.” This feeling seems to be very common throughout the US community as many students expressed how they like that there is much more freedom than last year. According to a US news survey, 38 students preferred this year, and 12 preferred last year. The minority that preferred last year argued that because school was easier they felt that last year was more relaxing and less stressful. As one student stated,  “There was just so much less homework last year than this year, and I could do pretty much all of my homework in school.”

Overall, feelings about this year are much better than last year. While talking with students about this year, a main theme that can be seen from both opinions is that the sense of community seems to be much more prominent. Although many think that this year is more challenging, most students feel that–socially speaking, school is much more normal.