CENTER MORICHES SCHOOLS

Center Moriches students talk back-to-school feelings

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While schools across the country continue to struggle on how to reopen campuses for the upcoming fall semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic, experts in the education industry agree that getting students back into the classroom is crucial and a key component to an overall positive learning experience.

Many experts, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, have noted on websites including www.Healthychildren.org, that “children learn best when they are in school.” Joseph G. Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, writes in a June 2020 opinion piece for the Washington Post, that widespread closure of schools can have a “devastating” impact on students. He cites several reasons why distance learning is not in the best interest of students, pointing to a study that was conducted on a group of Boston students which found that 20 percent of students did not participate in online education activities. He termed those students as “virtual dropouts.”

In the Center Moriches School District, administration and the school board have been working for weeks on plans to reopen safely should students return to school buildings in September. Individual committees consisting of school staff and community members were established to examine and create policies and procedures that will need to be implemented to comply with New York State mandates.

“We all want kids back in school because we believe in-person school is what is best for the kids’ academic, social and emotional growth,” said Center Moriches School Board vice president Danielle Dench. “Our administration engaged all stakeholders through parent, student and staff surveys, as well as through multiple work groups and subcommittees of our overall Reopening Team, which included over 70 members from every stakeholder group. Presently, we are working to align that feedback with the NYSED and NYSDOH guidance to develop a reopening plan that places student and staff safety as the primary concern. We will be prepared for whatever the Governor decides is appropriate.”

School superintendent Dr. Ronald Masera added, “Learning is a social endeavor. Kids learn best when they are in person and connecting with teachers and other students. We believe strongly that we can be most effective when kids and teachers are physically present in our school.”

But while the planning continues, the Tide wanted to hear directly from students and how they felt about the issue. We paneled a handful of students from the Center Moriches School District, and here’s what they had to say on the matter.

GRACE DEROSA
FIFTH GRADE
Clayton Huey Elementary

“I really, really miss school because I miss my friends and teachers and learning. But the thing is, if we go back in Septem- ber, wearing a mask all day and staying six feet away from my friends will be very hard. I love to give my friends and teachers hugs, but I won’t be able to do that. I wish the coronavirus would disappear.”

EMMY HILLER
SIXTH GRADE
Center Moriches Middle School

“Yes, we should go back to school because we need to learn. Plus, I want my first day of middle school to be like a normal first day and see all of my friends and new teachers.”

SPENCER BUFF
NINTH GRADE
Center Moriches High School

“For me, going back to school in September is somewhat mixed. I personally didn’t like distance learning and how everything was so laid back. It caused me to overall put less effort into my work, and I most definitely don’t want to continue that into my freshman year. I wish that by the time school is coming our way, a vaccine or something can help bring students back into the school and keep it that way. Simply seeing people through a computer rather than in person is completely different.”  

STEPHEN BUFF
NINTH GRADE
Center Moriches High School

“I think school is an essential thing that all students need to progress in life. Not being in a physical school building during quarantine made it difficult to fully understand something that the “teacher” was giving me. Most teachers during online school tried their best in teaching us the material we would have been learning in school, but some didn’t have student-to-teacher interactions. All the teachers that did live and recorded videos of themselves made learning that subject much easier for me. But the teachers that gave a random video didn’t really help me learn the concept to my best ability. School from home was a rocky start. Students are not used to virtual learning because we’ve never done it before. It is a lot easier to learn in school in person than online school. All in all, I feel great to start up high school in an actual school building. I’m super excited to have real band and art classes, see my new teachers, and my friends. Even if school is going to be modified due to COVID-19, we will still be at school learning the best we can. I feel comfortable going back into the school building, wearing a mask and social distancing.”

JOEY HILLER
EIGHTH GRADE
Center Moriches Middle School

“I want to go back to school so I can play sports."

KAYLA MITCHELL
TWELFTH GRADE
Center Moriches High School

“I would love to go back to school in the fall to begin to achieve some sort of normalcy for my senior year. However, with the restrictions that will be put into place such as wearing masks, adhering to social distancing, Section 11’s decision for no state championships, and no large groups of people allowed at events such as homecoming, pep rally, and sporting events, going back will not be close to the equivalent of a ‘normal senior year.’ Even though this is the case for all students across America, at the end of the day something is better than nothing. I missed my junior year season of lacrosse and am looking to play in college and am scheduled to take many college-level classes; therefore, I need in-person learning/interactions for the adequate preparation needed to further my education in the future.” 

COLIN RAUPP
TWELFTH GRADE
Center Moriches High School

“I would like to go back to school in the fall, ultimately, to play sports. Me, as an athlete, I look to sports as a way to keep myself occupied, mainly because I love playing sports. I would also l like to go back because it’s my senior year and I would like to experience all the senior privileges and things to do.”

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