Spotlight During Covid-19: A Hybrid Day Student, Isha Bhandaru


Elizabeth Hu '21, Senior Co-Editor-in-Chief

This summer was certainly unprecedented, as the nation experienced an outbreak of Covid-19, forcing everyone to stay at home and take other necessary safety precautions. Seeing the situation was not improving in the fall, Peddie developed a reopening plan to allow students back on campus while maintaining social distancing and other measures to ensure the safety of the community. Students have a choice of studying remotely or in a hybrid mode, alternating between remote and on-campus weeks. 

Isha Bhandaru ’21 is a hybrid day student from West Windsor, NJ this fall and an active member of the community. She is the editor-in-chief of Prism Magazine and a member of Peddie’s Varsity Track team. Similar to most other students, Bhandaru’s summer plans were altered due to the pandemic. Even though she had to stay home, Bhandaru was still busy with her Research Science Signature Experience (EXP) work and college applications. She originally planned to work at a lab over the summer, but after it was cancelled, she was able to conduct her own research project with Peddie teachers.

Aside from EXP and college applications, Bhandaru also had a lot of free time to relax and discover more about herself, which she found especially important under the stressful times. “I watched a lot of TV and met up with friends periodically,” said Bhandaru, who also “became a lot more independent.” She also used FaceTime and other forms of social media to keep in touch with friends. 

Even well into fall term, it has been difficult for Bhandaru to get into the rhythm of school, particularly after the long quarantine. “Especially with the huge workload, there’s a lot to get used to again,” said Bhandaru. However, as school is starting again, she is excited for the new hybrid model and sees many benefits, both socially and academically. “Not only am I looking forward to seeing my friends in-person, but I also learn better in the classroom,” said Bhandaru. With well-planned safety procedures in place, Peddie is able to provide students with an environment in which they work best.

After school this year, students have a wide range of options, from the arts to athletic teams. Bhandaru, especially, is looking forward to the afternoon art activities, which allow her to further her artistic skills outside of the classroom and provide her with extra time to complete Honors Studio projects. She views this as a great way to take time to herself and relax while getting work done. “I honestly think they should keep this option as an afternoon activity even after Covid-19 regulations are removed,” said Bhandaru.  

Even though Bhandaru is very excited to be on campus this fall, she still has some concerns. For instance, she has dietary restrictions, so she can’t eat pork or beef. Even in a typical school year, it is a little challenging to find desirable foods; however, “now with the packed lunch situation, it makes it even harder to get a proper meal,” said Bhandaru. “Most of the packed lunches contain sandwiches, and since most have pork, beef, or turkey, there aren’t many other options.”