Virtual Schooling at Flint Hill

By Amelia Vineyard, Section Editor

As the year draws to a close, it is time for the Flint Hill community to reflect on the vastly different school year experienced during the global pandemic. The challenges of virtual work and school has been something experienced by the entire world, and despite the hard work from the Flint Hill community, we, too, have experienced the trials and tribulations that occur in the online workspace. 

During the fourth quarter, the Flint Hill Upper School shifted from its previous two day in-person schedule to a 4 day synchronous schedule for three of the four grades at a time. This schedule was extremely exciting for many students and teachers, as in-person learning offers better connection, collaboration, and community. However, the new schedule offered additional changes, such as a schedule built to somewhat resemble year’s past A through F-day schedule. 

Sophomore Nina Dooley expressed that she really liked the new schedule, as it felt very organized to her.  She also expressed that the new schedule resembled the pre-COVID one, and it made her feel like she was in normal school instead of the COVID adapted one. 

In the fourth quarter, students meet in each class three times a week for one hour, instead of four times a week for forty-five minutes. These new developments gave students and teachers alike more time to engage in class activities and discussions, as well as offered them more time in between class meeting days to accomplish work. One student, Sophomore Caroline Miller, expressed her disappointment about not having office hours, as she feels that it was vital to her learning experience in her freshman year. 

However, the schedule improvements also meant that some grade levels would be in virtual school for weeks at a time, most noticeably the sophomores, who had three consecutive weeks of online school. These three weeks were immensely taxing on these students, as they felt extremely disconnected from their peers and teachers. 

Nina Dooley stated that the three weeks of online school made her “quite upset” and she felt “deprived of social interaction.” 

This is to be expected when students are isolated from their community for long periods of time, and can have severe effects on their mental health. Several students reported feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed during virtual school. 

Above all, students are eager to return to school as it was before the pandemic. Both faculty and students want to be in an environment where they can engage in conversations, foster friendships, and feel like a part of the community again. With rapidly-changing COVID restrictions and protocols, everyone is hopeful that the 2021-2022 school year will be back to normal.