Semester Switch


Katie Goyette and Lucy Schaefer

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a very difficult year for many. After shutting down for the final quarter of last year’s semester, Lakota decided to give their students two options at the start of the 2020-21 school year: return to in-person classes or choose the virtual option (VLO). After the first semester ended, students were given the opportunity to make a change in their schooling style, meaning switching from VLO to in-person instruction or vice versa. Although there were several Lakota students who decided to change, I was able to speak with Firebirds who have experienced both sides of the Lakota options.

Desstiny Jackson, a senior at Lakota West, began her final year of high school with in-person classes. Although students were with their friends and teachers again, both groups felt the effect of COVID-19 on their daily lives at school. “We cannot interact the way we used to. We cannot collaborate with each other in the same manner as before. Nor can we come together as a school and rally in support of each other,” Jackson said.   Being a senior at this time is an experience beyond words, and as the class of 2021 has been robbed of many events and activities, such as prom, homecoming, sports games, and more, Desstiny explains that switching to VLO made sense and  “may have been the best decision for me, in the midst of everything else going on in the world.” Although Desstiny misses the normalcy of high school, she also had another reason for switching her schooling style. “My father has a pre-existing health condition which puts him at high risk for being heavily affected by COVID-19. The goal was to limit my exposure, as to lessen his chance of contracting this virus,” Desstiny explained. Although she was sad to see her senior year move along this way, Jackson emphasized how this decision was the best for her and her family. Desstiny, through her transition, is setting a positive example of how to handle a difficult situation with grace and positivity.

In contrast, Alex Okoye is a sophomore at Lakota West who made the opposite switch, from VLO to in-person. Although his experience with VLO was fine, Alex states that he is happy to be back, because he is “more of a hands-on learner.” Okoye, similar to Desstiny, opted out of in-person instruction due to the pandemic, explaining “at the time, Covid was scarier and newer to everybody, and my parents didn’t want to take any chances.” However, after missing the environment of the school and speaking to his parents on the matter, Alex decided to make the switch from VLO to in-person classes. Alex explained how “There was a lot of structure in online, you could manage the time the way you want to. Now, in person, you do school during the day and do homework when you get home, the block schedule helps because it builds the organization in my day.” Through all of this confusion, Alex was able to find the upside to both VLO and in-person schooling while keeping a good mindset.

Although COVID has turned our lives upside down, the students of Lakota West have handled the situation with class. Whether in-person or virtual, we at the West Press wish everyone a safe and healthy second semester!