Administration details WJ’s plans for return to in-person learning

Einav Tsach

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Photo by Einav Tsach

The panel provides the WJ community an overview of athletics during the coronavirus period and transition to in-person learning. The second semester athletic schedule includes the Fall and Spring seasons as well as Winter sports.

In a Zoom webinar on March 1, key members of WJ’s administration team provided information to seniors’ parents regarding the upcoming return to in-person learning. The event took place as the county and school began releasing specific information on the transition from the online to the in-person environment.

Panel members included Principal Jennifer Baker and Assistant Principals James Heintze and Vernitta Tucker. Others answered audience questions via the Q&A section of the meeting.

Senior Eden Levin believes that members of the community didn’t get enough information regarding the transition to the in-person environment.

“I think there were a few missing holes and not all people got all the information they needed to really know what’s going on,” Levin said.

The meeting began by showing the audience what classrooms will look like and detailing safety protocols. Classroom capacity has been limited, desks have been socially distanced from one another and rooms will be frequently cleaned. Face coverings are required and students will be reminded of the guidelines as they enter the building.

A staple of student life at WJ is open lunch, where students can leave campus during the lunch break and purchase food from the adjacent Georgetown Square or the nearby Montgomery Mall. Unfortunately for students, because of new coronavirus guidelines, there will be no open lunch. In addition, vending machines and microwave ovens will be unavailable.

Levin thinks that students are in for a surprising experience if they come back to school this spring.

“I think a lot of the students will be shocked with how things are [when they come back to school], but the students who want to come back really want to be there so it will be good for them. That will give them partially the high school experience they have been missing,” Levin said.

Also detailed was the instructional experience for students who return to school. All students will be using their assigned Chromebooks, and no item-sharing will be allowed. Because each family made an individual choice on whether to send their child to school, most classes will have a mix of in-person students and those learning virtually. Class dismissals will be staggered to reduce the number of students moving through the halls at a time.

Some staff members will continue to work virtually for personal reasons. If a student’s teacher is working remotely and the student opted for in-person learning, the student will be assigned a setting at school to participate in the Zoom classroom, such as the commons or cafeteria.

Students will likely be relieved to know that no parking permits will be needed this semester, meaning that all students will be able to park at the school lot.