When the first day of school comes around each year, most American students typically prep themselves by picking out their favorite outfit and putting together their bookbags for the next morning. This year, “back-to-school” has a bit of a different meaning. Instead, students are checking their internet connection and making sure they’re in a quiet environment. 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Henderson County Schools are beginning the school year virtually, through Google Meet and Google Classroom on Aug. 17. West Henderson’s classes are usually an hour and a half long, but students now have 50 minute classes, and the school day will start at 8 a.m., just like it would regularly.

With the new procedures in place to help keep students, as well as the teachers and school faculty, safe and healthy, many are excited about their new method of learning. 

“Today went well for me, and I enjoyed the routine of the school day,” senior Gracie Norton said. “As a senior now, I’m kind of glad that we’re getting this online experience. I feel like the change in the way that we’re learning and the responsibilities that we were just handed are really going to help prepare me for the college experience, where it’s even more of our job to wake up on time, show up, and get our out-of-class assignments done on time.” 

While learning online is beneficial to many students who suffer from social anxiety or are habitually tardy, it is disadvantageous to others. Students with siblings, pets, or other loud family members worry that they’ll struggle to find a quiet place to study. Teachers are understanding about tech problems with devices and issues at home, but students need to remember that they are being held more accountable with their online assignments now than during the quarantine part of last year.

“Today was honestly really stressful and for the most part, awkward,” senior Chiara Still said. “It felt like stop-and-go because the teacher would talk and then there would be just awkward silence with everyone muted. I liked how short the classes are and how we get more freedom, but I felt like I got a lot of assignments for just the first day.”

Overall, the first day of school this year seemed to be a success. Although today was just the beginning of an odd school year, the semester seems to be off to a good start. 

By: Allison Caskey, Feature Writer

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