New (School) Year, Fresh Start


Potomac Falls faculty and students transition to in-person learning after a year and a half of distance learning.

Ever since March 2020, school has been anything but normal for students and staff alike, with protocols for distance learning and hybrid learning in place due to Covid-19. However, this school year, Potomac Falls High School has welcomed everyone back for in-person learning, with new safety guidelines to fill its hallways and classrooms with hustle and bustle once again.

After experiencing virtual learning for more than a year, students are getting out of their virtual isolation and back into real classrooms. “I like that we’re back and able to do activities and a lot of social and community events or aspects of school that we weren’t able to last year. I think last year was super pure education, we didn’t really get homecoming or school productions and going to sports games or any of that,” said junior Saba Banaii.

With the pandemic ongoing, LCPS and the school has implemented a number of safety measures such as mandatory masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer stations to keep the virus from spreading. In spite of these precautions, some students and staff have been anxious about returning to school. “The lunchroom is one of the biggest things that I’m concerned about. Just the fact that there’s so many people crammed into one room and then you take off your mask,” said junior Leilani Chin.

Online instruction has not only been challenging for students, but also for the staff. “I really didn’t like sitting in front of a screen, I tend to like to stand and move around,” said Jameson Zoller, English teacher. “[I] like to be able to see who’s engaged and who’s not engaged, and when I can’t see a [face], I just have no idea. There might not even be a person there.”

Many school events including sports and club meetings had to be modified or cancelled due to the pandemic during the previous school year. This year, as school is returning to a new normal, certain social activities have started back up again. “I’ve been looking forward to doing theater in person so much. It’s so nice to actually be around people and do the productions in person and actually have a live audience,” said Banaii.

Making the transition from Google Meets to in-person classes involves getting back to old habits such as getting ready, eating breakfast, packing lunch, and commuting. Some things that will be missed from virtual learning are “not having to drive to work, not having to do a duty, not having to dress up, and being able to hang out and grab a snack between classes,” said Zoller.

Along with the challenges, virtual learning also had some perks including flexible schedules, more lenient grading and due dates, and more time for assignments which was enjoyed by students. “I enjoyed procrastinating, that was my favorite thing,” said Chin. 

By stepping out of distance learning and into in-person classes, Potomac Falls is optimistic about students and staff returning to school for 2021-2022.