All-Virtual Teachers Come Back to School


Maroon Staff

Virtual teachers start to come back to school as the vaccine becomes more readily available.

Crowded hallways. Cramped staircases. Full classrooms. These novelties following the pandemic have arrived with yet another schedule change on April 19th. The return to five-day school weeks and the announcement that virtual students once decide would have to remain virtual for the remainder of the year coincides with numerous students’ return to in-person classes. What motivated them to come back to school? For students and teachers who chose to continue to be all virtual, what kept them from returning? Was bringing both cohorts back at the same time the best decision for the safety of the school? 

For teachers, most have been teaching in-person since the beginning of the year and are remaining in person. But there are several that have had to make the difficult choice of staying home for various reasons. SHS English teacher Seth Evans decided to stay virtual to protect an immunocompromised family member. “I’m double vaccinated now, I’m not personally worried about getting sick. The unfortunate thing is that even if you’re vaccinated, you can still be a carrier,” said Evans. He could not risk contracting the virus at school and bringing it home. 

As for difficulties in teaching remotely, Evans is more worried about the challenges students will face. The removal of asynchronous Wednesdays has created difficulties for all virtual teachers to connect with their students. Asynchronous Wednesdays allowed for all virtual teachers to easily set up meeting times with students. Without common frees, students and teachers have been unable to speak and meet. Further, using Zoom inside school is far from ideal. Students with all virtual teachers have experienced technical problems which constantly interfere with learning. Evans feels that the continuation of asynchronous Wednesdays would have been very beneficial. “Students really benefit from one-on-one attention and so to put that time aside is a way of saying that we have a tutorial system, and to organize our schedule in a way such that it emphasizes how important the value of that is,” noted Evans. 

In addition, Evans believes that the shift between cohorts to fully in-person has been abrupt. The plastic shields installed on desks to push students closer have been far from ideal. “It sounds like it was this idea that made sense from far away, but when you come up close and see how it’s actually happening in the situation it doesn’t really make much sense,” commented Evans. 

For students, almost all virtual students made the decision to return to school. Whether their reasoning is to see friends or avoid draining hours over zoom, full-capacity classrooms are now a common sight. Vrinda Pareek ’23 had another reason for returning to school. “Now that there isn’t going to be any more cross cohorting, I didn’t want to be the only one on Zoom,” stated Pareek. It appears that most students are now more comfortable with coming into the building, and are motivated by their friends returning as well.

Many Scarsdale students also took advantage of the ability to return to school starting from the fall. At the beginning of the year, for Yuval Cherki ‘23 returning to normalcy in any way possible meant returning to school. Just like most Scarsdale students, Cherki initially had worries regarding her return due to the severity of the pandemic at the time. With the addition of a second cohort to the building brings about worries for many Scarsdale students like Cherki. Crowded halls and classrooms are a major difference compared to September’s bare and empty school. Many students are conscious of the risk brought about by reintegrating all students into the building, but there is a common hope that with time the stress around returning to school will settle down. “We’re all eager to jump into our new friend groups now that we can see people. The measures are put there, and they are doing a lot for now,” noted Cherki. 

Although there have been challenging situations in which the teacher is the only virtual person in the classroom, everyone is doing their best to make things work during these unique times. Hopefully, everyone will be able to return to school come fall and the start of the new school year.