The in-person population at Concord Academy multiplied at the end of March break. A surge of students, statewide and nationwide, returned to campus for the first time in over a year. Currently, 336 students are attending classes four days a week. However, this delightful news also comes with the fact that some students still remain fully virtual—stuck at home, learning and socializing from behind a computer screen. 

It would be false to say that it is easy to see so many students accumulate in the classrooms and that we aren’t a little bit envious. However, virtual students are beyond lucky to attend a school like CA, where teachers and classmates are able to transport us into the physical classrooms through their kindness and compassion. 

Although CA constantly strives to be a community, there are times when it is almost impossible to replicate physical experiences through Zoom, with boundaries such as time zones and WiFi issues. Minor omissions of online school include the sound of the bell ringing over the quad, spontaneous adventures around Concord, conversations between classes, and the bustle of everyday life on campus. International students have flipped their days around, becoming almost nocturnal. In addition, only a few students remain virtual, making the classroom dynamic a little awkward at times. 

Online learners could not be more thankful to teachers for granting them the opportunity to continue learning from various states and around the world, but occasionally virtual students have felt a lack of consistent communication from the school. Sometimes it feels like we are an audience sitting in a theater watching events unfold on the stage. 

However, as mentioned in the mission statement, CA is continuously striving to include everyone. The kindness coming from teachers is almost palpable. They never miss the opportunity to include us or allow us to participate, whether it is calling on us in class or using the chat icon. Virtual students are exceptionally fortunate for the compassion conveyed by the CA faculty. We’ve gained impressive time management skills as well, learning to juggle classes, clubs, and our home lives. The fact that many clubs are still holding virtual meetings makes us feel even more a part of the community, as we get to hang out with friends and pursue our passions over Zoom. 

Another asset to our online lives has been Wednesdays. The break in the middle of the week has not only allowed us time to finish assignments and study, but it also puts a refreshing pause on the amount of time spent on screen. The fact that CA has given us Wednesdays off emphasizes the school prioritizing students to take care of themselves. 

Overall, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue learning online for the remainder of the pandemic. We could not thank the teachers and in-person students enough for keeping us in the loop. We know it’s a burden to have to talk to an extra screen in the corner of the room and repeat key points when WiFi or audio interferes, but we appreciate each and every effort of the on-campus community to connect with those of us off-campus.  

Photo courtesy of Sonny Tang ’22 | Photo Editor at The Centipede