From Classrooms to the Fields: Student-Athletes on In-Person Learning

Katie Popp, Co-Editor In Chief

As of April 19, most of Lakes’ students will return to in-person learning. To make things even better, all school sports have officially begun their (modified) seasons. However, due to the fact that COVID is still a factor we have to keep in mind, there are a lot of thoughts and beliefs about how both the school and sport environments have been functioning and will function moving forwards.  

Recently, the Talon Times sent out a form asking the student body (athletes and non-athletes), staff, and parents about how they feel about the shift to full in-person school and sports. Out of the nearly 30 responses, 37% were student athletes. For the most part, these student athletes seem fairly comfortable with the return to full in-person (on a scale from 1-4, the average score for this group was a 3 or 4). Those who were slightly less comfortable explained that with more people in-person, the harder it would be to social distance. “I feel pretty comfortable going back to school because our school has good Covid friendly rules put in place that will help us continue to be safe. Along with that, many people are getting vaccinated. The only thing that makes me a little uncomfortable is it feels like a big jump to just send us all into school at the same time,” stated student athlete, Ellie Haak.  

As for potential benefits for returning to school full time, many of the student athletes agreed that it will be a better learning experience and environment as well as being with friends more often. One athlete, Ava J., wrote that “my season is almost over, but it will be fun to see my name on that board for All-State and All-American. I also think it will be fun to wear my new uniform to school and just be around all of my friends again.” Another student athlete, April Ash, shared with the Talon Times that “returning in school will help people’s mental health and socialization skills” and “Coming back to school could help stop with the repeated days and make school more fun, to go alone with that, students will finally be able to see and make new friends.” Athlete and Talon Times writer Zoe Easterberg agreed that returning to school will make for a better learning environment.

While there are many benefits to the return to in-person learning, there are still some potential risks that are being kept in mind- the largest being COVID exposure. Especially as athletes, wearing masks during physical activity can be difficult, which raised some concerns among those who responded. Fellow Talon Times writer, Allie Rial, shared that she does “worry a little about COVID exposure, but the school has taken a lot of steps to prevent it so (I think) the risks will be minimal.” Another athlete, Molly Reuland, shared that she is more concerned about the transition from hybrid/virtual learning to in-person learning “will probably be a difficult transition since people probably don’t stay up all day everyday and it will probably take a lot of energy out of people.”

Finally, we asked those who took the survey to rate how easy it would be to make the transition from the hybrid/virtual learning environment to in-person learning. On a scale from 1-4, the answers varied from a 2-4 from the student athletes. One response from Mary Heffner stated that “It is very easy for me because I’ve been always on site since the beginning of the school year and it has been very easy for me to adapt to the school and how things work around here. Since I’m a freshman it kinda makes thing a bit hard for me to completely understand things around Lakes 100% but that is my perspective,” whereas Julia Veres thinks “the transition will be a bit difficult because there a many COVID related rules that need to be followed and I think that it will be more difficult for these rules to be enforced.” A third athlete, Katelyn Knodell, shares that it “will be nice having so many people but then again some people in my classes I don’t even know who they are. It will be different but I’m also a little excited to see more people,” which is a fairly good description of how most students in the school feel overall. 

All in all, as we approach the end of hybrid learning and welcome back full in-person classes, it was great to hear from students, staff, and parents to get their opinions on the matter.