Parkview Community Uncertain with Return to Campus

(Photo courtesy of Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette).

(Photo courtesy of Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette).

Parkview students and staff report feelings of uncertainty following the first month of their full-force return to campus. 

After nearly a year-and-a-half of digital learning for most, 97% of students in GCPS selected the choice to attend in-person for the fall semester. Being one of the largest schools in the county, Parkview has demonstrated the implications of this drastic change for all students and teachers. 

Despite the staggered start to the school year earlier in August, Parkview students have yet to fully transition back into the bustling hallways or the typical classroom environment that characterizes any high school. 

After attending her junior year through Zoom, Parkview senior Tehut Andargachew notes, “It’s been difficult to socialize with other students and to be around such a large group of people every day.” 

Unsurprisingly, a year’s worth of isolation has resulted in difficulty maintaining social interactions. To students, even the smallest of interactions appear as a burdensome task. Junior Amna Albeiti states, “My social battery runs out very quickly now, even when I say hi to someone in the hallway.”  

It is equally important to note the impacts of a full-fledged return for underclassmen. This year’s sophomores face considerable trouble in adapting not only to a year back in-person but also a completely different school.

Having been 8th graders at the start of the lockdown and continuing  freshman year online, the class of 2024 have essentially missed out on the necessary transition from middle to high school. Stepping foot onto the Parkview campus for the first time, sophomore Sarah Oleksinski expresses, “There’s a lot more people [in high school], and it’s overwhelming.” 

The return of full-capacity classrooms has also affected the Parkview faculty. AP U.S History teacher Mr. Aldrich greets a new class of juniors, with each of his periods ranging from 30-43 students. 

Despite his enthusiasm for being able to teach a full classroom, Mr. Aldrich observes with concern that “people have been slacking,” which he attributes to the lack of studying during digital. With his first test averaging below previous years’ scores, the AP teacher worries that his students are not prepared for the rest of the semester, especially in a class that demands high rigor and discipline. 

Nevertheless, the challenging circumstances that preside over Parkview do not necessarily dictate how the rest of the year will fold out. Many teachers maintain high hopes for their students. 

By incorporating new online platforms  accumulated over the past year—such as PeerGrade and Dezmos—to previous lessons and activities, teachers are able to offer students a range of resources for academic success. 

With the collective efforts of students and staff, Parkview has reinforced its vibrant spirit, from in-person club meetings to themed football games. Additionally, many students look forward to upcoming school-sponsored events, including Homecoming. 

Perhaps, normalcy will settle again at Parkview and the rest of GCPS. This prospect can be best expressed by freshman Brandon McCall: “I like being back in person; online was boring.”