Most Mid-Pacific high school students return to campus this week, but some stay virtual

27 percent of students will learn from home this year

Students+at+the+freshman+orientation+standing+with+their+cohorts+wearing+masks+and+face+shields+on+the+football+field.+Mid-Pacific+brought+back+high+school+students+to+campus+with+some+staying+virtual+for+the+remainder+of+the+semester.

By Charlize Gaudiello, staff photographer

Students at the freshman orientation standing with their cohorts wearing masks and face shields on the football field. Mid-Pacific brought back high school students to campus with some staying virtual for the remainder of the semester.

Katelyn Oshiro, Staff Writer

With COVID-19 case numbers decreasing and precautions in place, Mid-Pacific is set to bring 73 percent of high school students back to campus this week after doing virtual learning since April. However, more than 27 percent of students will continue as to learn online this year, according to school administration.

Some students said they made the decision to return to campus for academic reasons.

“I kind of have a hard time learning when I’m in a comfortable environment where I can get distracted easily,” said freshman Maggie Hoe.

Junior and IB Diploma student Kylie Canubida held similar sentiments and said it’s easier for her to ask for help in person.

“If I sit in the front, the teacher’s desk is in the front, so if I have to ask a question, no one else can hear it except for you,” said Canubida.

Other students said they preferred to stay at home, learning virtually, due to personal reasons.

Sophomore Sarah Jung virtually learning on Zoom as she takes down notes in her composition book. Mid-Pacific brought back high school students to campus with some staying virtual for the remaining of the semester. (Contributed by Sarah Jung)

Sophomore Sarah Anne Jung said she realized that she has a hard time breathing with masks in stores and is not sure she would be able to wear one for an entire school day.

“It gets really hot, and especially with thicker masks, it’s hard to breathe. But then the thin masks, then it’s not as protecting,” said Jung.

High School Principal Dwayne Priester said teachers who are returning to campus are getting used to technology and making sure they can work well with the virtual students as well as the in-person students.

“One of the things they [teachers] were trying to do [on Friday] was to make sure that as they are working with the students in the classroom, the students who are coming virtually will have a meaningful experience as well,” he said.

High school Spanish teacher Aythana Castillo Flores has been going to campus, adjusting to her new classroom and a new way of teaching.

“I’m changing my lesson plans to adapt to a more in-person teaching while also teaching to the people who are in virtual learning,” said Castillo Flores.
The campus has undergone changes in preparation for students’ return such as where students can enter and exit from each building.

“Some doors, in Atherton and the top [doors] on the fourth floor may be entrance only if you’re walking from Kawaiahao where as if you want to exit, you’ll probably have to walk around and up [the stairs] to go in,” said Priester

Classrooms have also moved around, and are not where they would be during a normal school year.

“Teachers who, historically, were in one classroom, now will have to rotate around,” Priester said.

Additionally, excitement is building for some teachers and students as the day students return to campus grows closer.

“If you’ve been seeing someone on Zoom for a while, it’s like if you are watching someone on YouTube and you see them as like ‘oh it’s you, you exist, you are real, you are here’,” said Castillo Flores.

“I really want to see people in class so I can talk to people and not be isolated in my room talking to myself like a weirdo,” said sophomore Raiden Nakagawa.

Some students said they felt uneasy about the rearranged campus, which is out of the norm for students who haven’t stepped foot on campus for months.

“I don’t know where my classes are,” said Nakagawa. “I’ve got to learn my schedule, cause I’ve just been going on my phone.”

As students return to campus and adjust to new routines, students said it is important to keep track of mental and physical health at the same time.

“If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out, ask for help,” said Canubida.