Start of new semester brings Wichita students back to classroom

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 10:08 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The first semester for Wichita Public Schools is over, and so is fully-remote learning for some students. On Monday (Jan. 25), students in Wichita’s public middle schools and high schools will begin their new hybrid model, attending school in-person twice per week.

On Monday, hallways at schools like Wichita North High School will have students for the first time in about 10 months. For students like Wichita North High School senior Olympia Gonzales, the return comes with a change in perspective.

“I’m kind of excited to go back to be honest, even though when I was in school, I was like, ‘I hate this place, I want out,’” Gonzales said.

She’s ready to go back after about 10 months without being in a classroom with a teacher or seeing her friends every day.

“My grades are the worst they’ve ever been,” Gonzales said. “It’s because it’s online and I have zero motivation to do it.”

Teachers are also looking forward to seeing students in-person next week.

“I’m excited. I’m ready to be back. I’d say 90 percent of us are very excited to have them back” said Wichita West High School social studies teacher Jason Brown.

But with that excitement, also comes nerves with the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Wichita Public Schools has a long list of required precautions that include daily self-screening, temperature checks, and mandatory mask-wearing. In addition to the health precautions, the hybrid model staggers students in alphabetical order. Students with the last names starting with A through L will attend classes in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays. Everyone is remote on Wednesdays and students with last names that start with the letters M through Z attend in-person on Thursdays and Fridays.

“It’s weird that I started my senior year in a pandemic,” Gonzales said.

Now, her biggest focus is to graduate in the spring.

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