What is normal?

St. Edward students reflect on the first academic year in two years without restrictions


Joseph Johnson

Owen Morgan, Lucas Garcia, and Alex Valdez sit without masks.

Joseph Johnson, Copy Editor

What is “normal”?

Students at St. Edward had to answer this question at the beginning of 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the regulations that came with it. For two years, St. Edward was under COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing masks, and social distancing. The 2022-2023 school year is the first year since the beginning of the pandemic that students are back to what they considered to be “normal” schooling. This moment is a time to reflect on the past two years for students, especially on their time e-learning and hybrid learning.

The pandemic started with a strict quarantine for students, with all schooling being held remotely in the comfort of their homes. Jacob Biewer, ’23 remarks about this experience, “It was awful”, and continues saying, “I felt like it was a bad working environment compared to school”. This sentiment seemed to be consistent among other students, with many of them using terms such as “distracting”, “lame”, “a mess”, and more. Some students enjoyed the ability to relax during quarantine, as they were able to attend school in their bedrooms and in clothes that they enjoyed. However, this enjoyment was short-lived and they began to feel similar to those students who used the previous descriptions.

St. Edward moved into the 2020-2021 school year with a hybrid learning model, with half of the student body attending school in person one day, with the other attending school virtually. These two groups switched places every day, and this continued for the majority of the school year. Students were asked to rate their experience with hybrid learning. Out of those who answered the survey, 50% said the experience was “Terrible”, and the other 50% of students claiming their experience was “bad” or “alright”. No student enjoyed hybrid learning.

Despite the negative comments regarding the learning models adopted by the school, the students did not hold any of these choices against the administrative staff at St. Edward’s. Jason Garcia, ’23, says about the school, “They did a good job managing COVID”. Other students were appreciative of the administration’s efforts and noted how “last minute” much of the decision-making had to be done. Some students had critiques of the way regulations were handled, in particular a desire to have “shuffled” the two learning groups during the hybrid model.

The 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years passed, and the 2022-2023 school year began with little to no COVID-19 regulations for students to follow. This brought joy to many students such as Stephanie Cortes, ’23, who comments, “I feel so relieved and it feels good being around everyone again”.  Now, the students of St. Edward look forward to having a full and normal year. However, they may ask, will things ever be exactly how they were before?