COVID In Winter


Erika Egliskis '23, Staff Writer

Winter term at Peddie poses a big challenge for students who already have had a difficult time adjusting to schedule changes and a hybrid online/in-person school system this fall due to Covid-19. For the fall term, Peddie offered students a choice between a remote school  experience and a hybrid system that alternated between an in-person week and an online week, with underclassmen and upperclassmen alternating their in-person weeks. Winter term features a return to a remote-only option, similar to that which Peddie students experienced last spring.


Peddie’s current plan is for all students to have the first part of their term, up to Jan. 27, fully online. This may cause some problems for students who have a hard time focusing online or need to get extra help often. One of the benefits of attending in-person classes is being able to easily ask your teacher or friends for help. Several hybrid students chose the hybrid option largely because they feel they learn better in an in-person environment. Katie Hui ’23, an international student taking all of her classes online, admitted she faced some technical difficulties this term. “It’s often hard to hear what my peers or teachers are saying in the classroom,” she commented; “fortunately, all my teachers are very understanding and willing to help me through it by offering extra help. However, when I miss classes [such as Math], I often struggle to catch up on the problems I don’t understand. This also goes for my other classes, and sometimes it is hard to communicate with my teachers and classmates for help since it’s around their bedtime when I wake up.” 

Time zone discrepancies between New Jersey and other countries create an issue when international students try to stay up to attend their class Zoom calls. “During the first few weeks, everything was running smoothly. Then daylight savings time reversed and I had to go one hour later into the night,” said Zoe Chao ’23. For Chao, this meant staying up until 4am to make it through her final class of the day. This gives these students unnecessary stress and the inability to concentrate well during class due to sleep deprivation.

Having only online classes during the winter will make it a lot easier for international and remote students to fit in better with everyone else. “I think everyone should have online classes during the winter term so we can all be on the same page,” said Hui. Many can agree that students who have in-person lessons have an advantage when it comes to learning and staying focused during class, so this switch will be fair for everyone.

Also, knowing many students will be traveling during the holiday season, and how the virus is more likely to spread in the cold, it is much safer if Peddie closes down for the winter. “Right after the holidays, it’s probably a lot safer for people to just stay home afterwards. Also, since it’s cold, the virus will probably have an easier time spreading,” said Jasmine Zhao ’23. 

“It’s flu season so overall it’s just better for people to just stay home and it’s much safer,” said Chao, who also added that “international students fly back home for 10 days and come back for 2 weeks (to quarantine) before going back for winter term. Traveling is not that easy during a pandemic. I think the school made the right call, but they should probably open school later in the spring. Late January still is flu season; not the best time to fly on airplanes or go to school in a different country.”

Other students disagree and say that returning back to school would be fine, based on how this fall term has gone by and that Peddie has handled COVID properly so far. “They were super careful; if anyone were to have it they [handled it] really well, we barely had any cases. Good rules were put [in place] that students follow pretty well, and I think the temperature checks and the health service were also really helpful,” said Zhao. “I think Peddie handled COVID extremely well and took the necessary precautions, such as the stickers on the ground indicating six feet,” said Ava Bajwa ’23. Even with safety precautions in place, students nevertheless enjoyed socially distanced social activities that they will miss this winter. “Peddie did a good job with taking the proper precautions and still letting us have food trucks or pizza, or just a day to have fun with Blair day,” said Sen’ari Minnis ’23. 

Overall, students can assume it will be a unique term, just as this fall was distinct. COVID-19 has completely transformed students’ lives in a matter of months.