School year ends with a promise

FCPS announces 2021-22 school year will return to ‘pre-covid’ normal


AHS custodial staff members clean and disinfect the cafeteria desks, which were put in to follow social distancing guidelines.

The school year is finally over. Summer is almost upon us and Covid-19 regulations are starting to become less strict.
The plans for the 2021-22 school year are still being drawn up. However, one thing is certain; the next school year will have students return to the five days a week, in-person instruction schedule.
“This year has been extremely challenging. However, I couldn’t be more proud of the students and staff at Annandale High School who overcame all the adversity to have a successful school year,” AHS principal Shawn DeRose said.
Students do have the option to request to stay in virtual learning, but they need to be approved by AHS to be able to. There are only a few circumstances where a student will be able to stay virtual. One of which is medical reasons. As of May 21, only three students at AHS have been approved for virtual instruction.
“I hope I’ll be teaching students in a real physics classroom, safely, and not limited to digital demos and video recorded labs,” physics teacher David Tyndall said. “You won’t get the ideal Physics experience just through YouTube, GoogleDocs, and HTML5 — Physics should be real and tangible, and I’m very ready to bring it back to the classroom once it’s safe to do so.”
While next year will be returning to a pre-covid normal, some regulations, like wearing a mask and social distancing, may still be in place. Students and staff will find out more about covid regulations after June 15.
“While I am still concerned about another flare up in cases, I am looking forward to having everyone back in the building,” English teacher Sasha Duran said. “It’ll make communication and outreach so much easier between teachers and students, and students and their peers—I’m hopeful that my students will be more engaged and enthusiastic about learning with and from each other and me.”
This year was full of challenges. Teachers and students had to adapt to virtual learning and overcome many hardships.
“Pandemic teaching was a huge challenge, of course. But like a lot of students and colleagues, I’ve had to manage that on top of external multipliers: my father’s death, keeping my 1 year-old daughter safe, worrying about my wife’s health while she works at a hospital, and so on. And of course, I’m always trying to be mindful that some students and colleagues are struggling through similar or even more traumatic experiences,” Tyndall said.
Summer school will also be available this year and is being held at schools all across the county. It will be held in-person with students still required to social distance and wear masks. Summer school will start in late June.
“At first, the school year was off to a rocky start since everyone had to get used to distanced learning. I eventually got used to it and it was not so bad,” junior Nathan Ong said. “It was more of a struggle to stay focused and not getting behind on assignments. Now that the year is almost over, I feel like I can start to relax, especially now that finals can only improve your grade.”
FCPS has given students a lot of leeway in regards to grading. Throughout the year, teachers were not allowed to give zeros. The lowest score they could give was a 50 out of 100. This was used if a student did not turn in their assignments.
“It was so hard to get a hold of some of my students this year, even with the help of other teachers and counselors. It’s been really disheartening lately to look at my gradebook and see that there are students who, no matter how I try to encourage them to meet with me and catch up on work, seem to have given up on the year,” Duran said. “In an ordinary year, this can be largely avoided by in-person face-to-face talks, but this year it has just been hard. I can not help my students who ghost because I literally can’t find them.”