Many WHS students return to finish the school year in-person

Infographic by Kaitlin Bavaro & Caroline Collins using

As WHS prepares for the fourth marking period, the administration has received requests from 46 percent of the all-virtual student body to switch to in-person learning. This transition will be completed in phases, but by April 26, the entire student body will either be Cohort C, all virtual, or Cohort D, with Cohort D students attending school in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. 

This return back to school is unique because, unlike other marking periods, there is only one option for students: go in four days or none at all. Senior Will Fiorentino said, “There will probably be more students in the building than there has been since the start of the pandemic so it will be harder to social distance than when there were A and B cohorts.” 

Assistant Principal Mabel Huynh believes that even if there is some difficulty, students and staff will adjust and everything will soon run smoothly. 

Based on data as of April 8, 61 percent of the entire WHS student body will be present for in-person learning four days a week starting on April 26. The school remains devoted to enforcing COVID-19 rules and procedures. WHS will continue to have one-way hallways, staggered dismissals and open windows in classes where six feet of distance cannot be practiced. In an email sent out to parents, Principal Mary Asfendis said that they would monitor any updates from the New Jersey Department of Health and make changes as needed.

Returning to school will hopefully be a return to normalcy for many students despite the abnormal circumstances. Huynh explained, “Students are much more comfortable returning due to a better learning environment with warmer days, the change of safety concerns with staff, family and students being vaccinated, the change in CDC guidelines, and overall, they want to finish the school year with as ‘normal’ an experience as they can have.”

Especially in the winter, many students did not want to attend school in person due to the open window policy. The fact that the fourth marking period coincides with the spring months is definitely a selling point for some students to return. Junior Evan Hammer said, “It’s going to be warm out, so I won’t be freezing in class anymore.” Hammer added, “I’m also excited to see my friends in school.”

The senior class sent in more requests to return to school in person than any other class. The majority of the class of 2021 has decided to go back to WHS for the final marking period of their high school careers. Senior Ryan Borak said that he wants to “see [his] friends and teachers in-person for [his] last marking period as a WHS student.”

Ultimately, Huynh believes that the return to school is positive. “Students always bring a type of energy into the building that makes it come alive,” Huynh said.  “Many students do better and benefit significantly from in-person learning.  We are excited to have them back and [are] doing our best to address any anticipated problems to ensure everyone has a smooth return.”