This story about school reopening was produced by grade 11 students from Luwan Secondary School BC Program.

The students of Luwan Secondary School BC Program have been away from school since mid January due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As the coronavirus threat has extended closures in many public places, schools are gradually opening and have implemented many protective measures to avoid the spread of the virus.

The experience of coming back to school after the quarantine has been quite unforgettable for many students.

“I witness a big change in our school life. When we enter the school gate, we need to wash our hands by using the hand sanitizer. When we go into the classroom, we also need to do the temperature check to make sure that everyone is healthy. Of course, everyone needs to wear the mask for the whole time,“ said Emily, a grade 11 student.

“We are told to avoid group discussions if possible. Our desks are separated. Everyone is suffocating from wearing a mask for the whole day,” said Marley, a grade 11 student.

“Students are first required to take their temperature at home before coming to school. There are infrared detectors at the gate. What’s more, we are asked to do the temperature check twice: once before going in the classroom and once before leaving the classroom,” said Aileen.

According to some students, coming back to school can be overwhelming.

“I think coming back to school after the quarantine is a very special experience for us. First the schedules for the online class and the in-class are totally different. We need to adapt to different schedules. For example, you may get up at 9:00 in the morning during the quarantine while now we need to get up at 6:00 am for school. One of the greatest challenges is adjusting our working and sleeping time,” said Ivy, a grade 11 student.

“Initially, my biological clock was messed completely. During the quarantine, I would usually stay up late and get up at 8 in the morning. Sometimes, I still suffer from insomnia and have trouble falling into sleep,” said David, a grade 11 student.

The shift is, however, easier for some students who embrace the changes.

“There is more free time for me to develop my interests. Normally, we would have classes unJl 4:15 and I would have no spare time. Now, I am able to utilize the time since school finishes early. For instance, I can pick up a magazine or a book to read and spend more family time with my parents,” said David.

“Online Learning vs Classroom Learning”

 When students are asked about their preference, they all agree that there are advantages and disadvantages for both types of learning.

“I would rather come back to school so I can meet my classmates and teachers. When I had online courses, there was only a computer in front of me. I always had to worry about the connectivity of the network. I missed having P.E. classes and it was difficult to keep myself healthy,” said Yvonne. “Although it is excited to come back to school, there was sJll some disadvantages. First, we need to get up early and take the public transportation. What’s more, we have to sit in our chairs for hours suffering back pain. Learning at home is definitely more comfortable.”

” “Traditional ways of teaching have many advantages. First, the teachers can explain the materials by using body languages or other visual aids to help you understand the concept beMer. Secondly, a teacher can supervise you in school. They can tell you what to do and guide you through every step. For someone who is not good at self-management, teacher’s supervision will help them learn beMer than at home,” said Fiona, a grade 11 student.

 “Trying to stay positive”

Despite the changes, most of the students remain optimistic about the reopening. To them, coming to school is no longer something that can be taken for granted.

“I’d like to believe that online classes will be the direction that leads the future. No maMer how good the online classes are, they still can’t replace the real classes. It is like no maMer how close friends are on the internet, there is no best way to tighten friendship through having a face-to-face meal!” said Milo, a grade 11 student.

“Every cold winter will pass. We will always enjoy warm spring. I am glad that our life is on the right track and things will improve. There’s always hope!” said Emily.