Grizzlies roar back on campus

Students return to in-person school for first time in 17 months


Ryan Syms

Cal High students walk to their classes on campus, something most haven’t done since March 2020.

Students have finally returned to Cal High’s campus in a traditional setting after spending last school year in remote or hybrid learning. 

Nearly half of the student body is experiencing high school on campus for the first time.

“It’s exciting as we get to see our friends, meet new people and our teachers,” freshman Priya Mistry said. 

Sophomores like Connor Watson are experiencing high school for the first time this year as well. Although Watson took hybrid classes last year, not being able to take classes entirely in person affected his first year of high school. 

“Last year, it wasn’t the same experience of being a freshman who has just started high school since most of the school year was remote,” Watson said. “It’s pretty good to be back, but it’s more tiring.” 

Many students are facing challenges being back after getting used to last year’s at-home routine. Returning students who were enrolled in remote learning all last school year are having trouble adjusting after being stuck at home for school. 

Senior Mihir Harshe said getting reacquainted with being on campus hasn’t been easy. 

“It’s stressful getting adjusted to coming back,” Harshe said.

Harshe said he is glad to be back on campus because he wants to enjoy his senior year and focus on his courses moving forward.

Junior Tian Li Pollinger shared similar sentiments as Harshe. Pollinger said she is both glad and nervous to be back in person. 

“I’ve been able to get things done and I hear better than being online,’’ Pollinger said. “I was nervous coming back because things were a little different from what I was expecting, the limits in spacing during lunch time and places to go.”

Returning to campus has come with a variety of new rules, many related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These adjustments include the indoor mask mandate and the relocation of lunch to the quad. 

Students have mixed opinions about wearing masks at school. 

Despite being glad to return to Cal, junior Benjamin Lewis has concerns about students when it comes to wearing masks.

“Even though you can still wear masks outside, people do have the option to not wear them,” Lewis said. “I feel safe because I’m always wearing my mask, but it’s a little unsettling to think about.” 

On the other hand, sophomore Johnathan Bouch said he doesn’t like having to wear a mask but he understands that it’s required. He said he feels safe to be in the classrooms and appreciates some of the changes Cal has made to its lunches. 

“I feel safe being back doing in person learning, and I like the decision of free school lunches,” Bouch said. “I like being back on campus, and it’s good to see my friends again.”

A range of emotions are apparent for Cal students. After overcoming the struggles of distance learning, students are excited to be back in a physical classroom. 

Despite students feeling different about their learning experience from last year to the start of the new year, most have one thing in common. 

“Everyone has a positive outlook of being back,” Algebra 2 teacher John Muscarello said.