Students adjust to in person learning

Opportunity to interact with friends, teachers valued

Reactions to full-time in-person learning vary from student to student in Natomas Unified School District. The longer days are challenging to some students looking to find a balance between school and home obligations, while some students find in-person learning more beneficial than distance learning and enjoy being able to meet with friends.

 “So far, I think it’s pretty good,” said Johnny Eick, a junior at Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School (NP3). “It’s pretty much the same as how school was freshman year, just with additional masks.”

Mariah Havener, also an NP3 High junior, said she especially appreciates being able to have face-to-face conversations.

“I like getting the opportunity to not only interact with my friends but with my teachers too,” Havener said. “Online it’s easier to get that time to individualize your work, but it can also be confusing since you don’t have the person to talk to one on one,”

Zerlan Caasi, an International Baccalaureate student at Inderkum High School, said the transition has been pretty smooth.

“I feel like there wasn’t too much of a difference,” Caasi said. “I switched back pretty easily, even though the pandemic hit, I didn’t really feel any lag, I didn’t really have any pauses. Because of COVID, a lot of teachers understand a lot of stuff about mental health, and a lot of teachers have been lenient,”

That hasn’t been true for Eick, however, who said longer school days have made it harder for him to manage his time.

“I feel like I have no time anymore compared to distance learning,” the NP3 student said. “I’m still working out the details, but I found that most of my homework, which is a big time thing, I found I could finish most in my first period… (Online learning) gave me a lot more freedom to manage my schedule which I like.”

For NP3, online-learning school days were 9 a.m. to noon. With the return to in-person instruction, the schedule is 8:30 a.m. to 3:35 p.m., with an optional zero period starting at 7:40 a.m.

While fellow NP3 Ethan Duong agreed the later end to the school day made it harder to manage time because it left less time for homework, he said he appreciated the additional academic support students receive during in-person classes.

“Assignments are easier because during distance learning, there was a lot more we had to learn on our own so assignments were harder,” he said.

Noble Mahan, an NP3 senior, said assignments are easier during in-person school because she learns much more during in-person classes.

“I have made a schedule to make it easier to keep track of assignments,” Mahan said. “(It’s) because I’m in school, we get a lot of things done in class, and I learn more, so homework is easier,”

History and economics teacher Kellen Thompson said that while students “seem just as motivated and work just as hard as before,” he has had to change the curriculum because of COVID protocols.

“Curriculum wise, I’ve had to make some real changes, but mainly in response to COVID protocols as opposed to changes in the students,” he said in an email. “I also don’t have the kids work in groups much anymore. Once it’s safe, I look forward to having a more collaborative and balanced classroom once again!”