A Case of Deja Vu: Virtual Start of Second Semester Stirs Up Feelings of School Years Past


Tanner Adams

Déjà Vu: Junior Duskin Balch stares familiarly at his computer screen as memories of the 2020-2021 school year resurface with this semester’s virtual beginning.

It’s the return of Zoom. With vaccinations, masks, and social distancing, many students believed online school was a thing of the past. However, with the Omicron COVID-19 variant spreading rapidly and cases skyrocketing, Atlanta Public Schools made the decision to begin the second semester of the 2021-2022 school year online. On Tuesday, January 4, students were reluctantly reunited with Zoom, something every student had become all too familiar with last school year and happily said goodbye to last May.  

Many students can admit that Zoom school had its perks, some of which have been missed by students with the school year being completely in person thus far. Waking up later, making lunch at home, doing school in your PJs– all great things that only Zoom school can provide. “I like that on Zoom you can focus on your work without distractions from classmates or school-wide announcements,” said junior Alexandra Golomb. “You can wear sweatpants, save gas, and sleep in a little more than usual.” 

While these perks are great, Zoom school has its downsides, too, including the lack of socialization with friends and classmates, lonely lunches, and the inability to have one-on-one conversations with teachers. These critical components of in-person learning just can’t be replicated by online learning. “Doing school online makes me feel lazy and unproductive,” said junior Duskin Balch. “I am less focused and less concentrated due to increased accessibility to distractions. Overall, it’s just really difficult to stay engaged.”

Despite only being anticipated to last a week, the virtual start to the second semester left students with uneasy feelings as they remembered the 2020-2021 school year. While students enjoyed the online perks of the virtual start, some students worried about the possibility of the virtual first week of the second semester turning into the virtual first month. 

Luckily, this stretch of Zoom school only lasted a week this time around. APS students returned to their respective school buildings on Monday, January 10, masked up and ready to go. “When I found out we were going to be virtual for the first week of the semester, I was immediately worried that it was going to last much longer than that,” said junior Virginia Brewer. “Like most students, I enjoy the perks that virtual school has to offer, but I much prefer to go in-person. I’m so relieved we were only virtual for a week.”

With that week of virtual in the past, the Warriors are finally back where they belong. The 11 story building missed the students, and the students missed it. All it took was one week of virtual school to cause the Dubs to admit something they never thought they would: the Dubs love in-person school, even with crammed elevators, 15-minute lunches, and endless hours of mask-wearing.