Atlanta-Area Private Schools Give It a Go With In-Class Instruction

Face To Face: Westminster junior Charlotte Snyder is doing something no North Atlanta student has done since March — attend classes in her school building. Area private schools are first to get back to classroom instruction in an era marked by remote-education for most public systems.

After an unexpected and sort-of-appreciated 6-month long summer vacation, it’s finally time for students to return to school … or not. This year, schools are having to adjust their back-to-school plans to accommodate COVID-19 limitations.

Many schools, such as North Atlanta, Atlanta Classical Academy and all APS schools have made the decision to conduct all of their classes online. Despite this being extremely upsetting news for many students, over the past few weeks they have been able to look at the bright sides of virtual learning. While students struggle with staring at a screen for seven hours, many students appreciate longer breaks in between classes and an extended lunch period. There is also a possibility for some of these schools to be able to have in-school learning after the first nine-week-long Term 1. Sophomore Mya Todd was able to weigh some pros and cons of online schooling. “I have more free time after school, but I think it’s negatively affecting me socially because I’m not able to see as many people during the day,” she said.

A few schools were able to completely reopen their buildings, allowing students to attend in school classes full time. Though this system has its risks, schools like Westminister are doing their best to make it work. Students have to abide by many new rules to keep themselves and their fellow classmates safe. Students now must wear masks all day and stay socially distanced. Charlotte Snyder, a junior at the Westminster School, is one who’s glad to be back in a more traditional educational setting. “I’m definitely happy to be back,” she said. “At times the COVID limitations can feel a bit inconvenient, but I understand the reason behind them and I know they are meant to keep everyone safe.”

Other schools have adopted hybrid learning systems where students alternate between in school and at home learning. St. Pius X High School, Marist School, Pace Academy, and Holy Innocents Episcopal School are some of the private schools who are operating under the hybrid system. Most of the schools have half of the students go one day, and half go another. Many students are finding it challenging to adapt to this new schedule. “It’s hard to constantly have to readjust my schedule from being online one day to in person the next,” said St. Pius  sophomore Margot Humphrey. “It’s hard to keep track of when things are due and to remember what to bring to class when we are in school.” 

Whether it’s learning from home, at school, or a little bit of both, every system has its benefits and its setbacks. Despite the pandemic limitations, schools have been able to create workable environments for their students. In the meantime, North Atlanta students are left to wonder when all schoolwork will cease being “homework.”