As I turned the corner of 76th and Park yesterday morning, I was nervous but also excited to be back. After seven months, it felt weird to be wearing my plaid skirt and making sure I had all the necessities, such as extra masks and Purell. I rushed over to see my friends so we could get a chance to speak before we had to go in. As I looked around, it was weird seeing everyone’s faces behind masks, and also seeing all the dyed hair, a popular activity throughout quarantine. We all had to social distance and stood six feet from one another on stickers on the sidewalk, waiting to have our QR codes scanned. As I walked into school, I looked around at all the “wash your hands” signs, and the six feet apart stickers trailing through the hallway; it was dead quiet, and I missed the buzz and screams of students running through the halls. 

When I entered my classroom, I took a seat and looked around. All the desks were six feet apart and there was a large speaker in the center of the room, which I later learned was the OWL, a speaker, and camera to help virtual students become part of in-person learning. My first class was a bit odd because sadly our teacher wasn’t coming to school. We all had to go on Zoom even though we were all there, and we all laughed at the new normal, which was having someone ask a question and having it echo through all our devices because of the delay. It hit me many times throughout the day that I was actually at school in the middle of a global pandemic, and it gave me chills. 

As my classes continued, it was weird to be sitting in the same place all day, getting up once or twice or having thirty-second stretch breaks. The only thing that was getting me through the day was my lunch; I found it exciting that we could order our meals off an app. I watched as our lunches were brought to us, individually wrapped in plastic with our names on them. But to be honest, I missed waiting in the long lunch line, and I would do anything to be back there. 

Before I knew it, it was 3:15; I had enjoyed being back and was glad I got to see everyone, but…  Heading back home, it still felt weird that I had gone back after so long, but I guess this is what it’s going to be like from now on. Even though it’s only twice a week, I am still grateful, and I think the school did an outstanding job the way they set everything up and while it was different it felt more normal than  school has felt in a while.

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