Back to School In Person. . . Definitely Different!


Nick Bumgardner, Staff Writer

NDA’s second semester is off to a strong start, but it’s certainly not free of changes.

For the first time in over three months, students return for in-person classes and chatter fills the halls.

“I went home after the first day of in-person class and told my husband I felt like a teacher again,” explained veteran English teacher Carolyn Brown.

“It was so good to be interacting face-to-face, getting instant responses–actually discussing–and not feeling like students were Snapchatting or texting behind my back.  I enjoyed laughing with the kids and seeing their excitement about being with friends,” she continued.

The decision to offer a return-to-school option for students comes after a long, careful process of deliberation by administration.

It’s hard not to notice, however, a significant departure from a year, or even three months, ago.

Temperature scans, social distancing, and masks have become the norm.

The commons, lockers and freshman hallway benches are hardly the social hangouts they once were.

Where students used to swarm before school and during lunch, desks, now separated by six-foot markers, dot the commons like a grid.

The library, to help accommodate distancing requirements, now functions as an auxiliary  classroom.

The Triton Center, functioning as both a gym and a lunchroom, now houses students for lunch overflow.

Some clubs, sports and extracurricular events are back in full swing, as others hang in the balance.

The pandemic has stretched NDA to its limits, but through the unwavering resolve of administration, staff and students alike, school is back in session.

Teaching during a global pandemic is, of course, not without its challenges, lessons, and optimism for a better future and return to “normal.”

For many, COVID-19 has served as a time of self-reflection and growth.

Dr. Diane Mulroney, a Spanish language teacher at NDA, for example, shared her “challenge to get out of [her] own way…to grow as a teacher.”

 “I’m looking forward to more laughs with my students and hearing their voices–I didn’t realize how much I missed the verb list and the choral repetition,” she exclaimed.

In addition, Junior Nick Massabni, evaluating his growth as a student in 2020-21, said he’s gained a “greater appreciation for the electronic resources we have at NDA.”

Junior Silverio Mirao, sharing the sentiment of many students, said he’s “extremely excited to…learn together again.”

“It’ll be odd with the different styles of learning and the systems we will have to adapt to, but thank God for this opportunity,” he continued.

It may look and feel different, but students are back at NDA, one way or another.

The Tritonian will continue to cover this situation as it develops over the next eighteen weeks

For more details on NDA’s reopening plan, check out our 12/5/20 interview with Principal Patrick Browne or visit the Notre Dame de la Baie Academy COVID-19 page.