After an atypical start to the school year for face-to-face students, Classroom Connect learners will be expected to return to school alongside their peers this winter. Per the Commissioner’s Executive Order, all students(excluding those enrolled in eCollier Academy) will come back to campus by Jan. 20, 2021.

“Currently, the Commissioner’s Executive Order expires in December 2020, which includes our CCPS innovative model of Classroom Connect/High School Flexible virtual scheduling,” Superintendent Kamala Patton said in the CCPS October iNews message. 

This means that students who chose Option 2(CCPS Classroom Connect) will have to make a decision: return to on-campus instruction or switch to the eCollier option.

Sophomore Hannah Foley is a Classroom Connect student who will have to decide whether to stay virtual with eCollier or come back to campus in the near future. She is unsure of her choice at the moment, but realizes the positives and negatives of both situations. 

“My plan was only to come back if the virus is under more control,” Foley said. “My family does not want to send myself and my siblings back to school with the virus still raging in January.”

However, she is also conflicted about switching to the eCollier option.

“The district said in the beginning of the year that eCollier may not have all of the courses available,” Foley said. “If this is the case, I’m not sure if my schedule would be accommodated. Also, switching teachers and classes seems like it could be a big disaster… teachers teach at different paces.”

Freshman Tish Melton is another e-learner who will be faced with a tough decision in January.

I think that the district should look at the reasons some kids may be staying home,” Melton said. “Whether they have underlying conditions that could make COVID more dangerous for them or another reason, I don’t think it’s entirely fair for the district to force everyone to go back to in-person school.”

She said that they are playing it by ear and deciding whether to return to campus or convert to eCollier Academy later down the road. For now, she is continuing her education virtually, and although she misses her friends at school, she says there are some benefits to at-home school. 

“I think the biggest benefit is being able to make my own schedule,” Melton said. “I still have live classes, but as long as I finish all my work, I can do work and assignments on my own time.”

If cases start to slow down, she plans to return to campus and see what freshman year is like at school.

“As a freshman, this year has not been what I expected at all,” Melton said. “A year ago, I was looking forward to eating lunch with my friends, going to football games, and homecoming. I wish I could have a normal freshman year experience, but it’s important to be safe with COVID.”

Virtual students are uncertain about what their learning will look like for the second semester, as well as students currently on campus.

Sabyne Brisson, sophomore and face-to-face learner, has mixed emotions about virtual learners returning to school grounds.

“I personally don’t want them to come back,” Brisson said. “If more kids come back, it’s like restarting the school year. We had trouble starting the school year already and now we’re going to have to do it again?” 

Although she feels that the virtual students’ return will bring new complications, she is excited to see some of her friends who have been online since the start of school.

“I’m excited to see one of my best friends, Tarrah, because her parents haven’t let her come back,” Brisson said. “Now she’s coming back, and that’s exciting.”

All students, virtual and in-person, need to prepare for the changes to their learning this winter.

“I understand that more people in our classes is going to make it more dangerous for all of us,” Brisson said. “At the same time, we can’t live our lives in shelter; we’re going to have to go out and get immune to each other and immune to the virus.”