‘It’s crazy to be back a year later’

Students assigned one lunch buddy; athletes have to wear masks during games, split into groups for indoor practices



Desks are spread out as much as possible to provide 6 feet of social distancing between students. Teachers clean equipment after each use.

STEFFI LUDAHL, Evergreen reporter

Pullman High School transitioned last week into a hybrid learning system where students have the option to go to in-person classes twice a week.

Half the students can attend in-person classes Mondays and Thursdays, while the other half can attend Tuesdays and Fridays. There are no classes on Wednesdays. Those who do not wish to be on campus can attend classes via Zoom, said PHS sophomore Violet Eiland.

Eiland said she was in her freshman year when the pandemic hit and schools moved online. 

“It’s crazy to be back a year later,” she said. “I haven’t seen so many of my classmates and friends in a year. It is just really crazy to think about.” 

High school soccer usually starts in the fall for girls, said PHS sophomore Hannah James. However, they are just getting into their season now. They have to wear masks while playing, but she and her teammates do not mind if that means they get to play. 

The girls are allowed to practice outdoors together, she said. If they need to do any workouts in the gym, they have to split up.

“It’s a really good community with those girls,” James said. “It’s kind of weird playing with a mask, but we’ve gotten used to it. We just don’t want our season to be canceled.”

James said she feels safe going to classes. Teachers enforce mask rules, and students follow them for the most part. She has heard of other schools having a harder time enforcing mask rules. 

Eiland said lunch looks “a little weird” but the system works. You are assigned one lunch buddy whom you eat with every day. People are spread out into assigned seatings. If someone gets ill, contact tracing can be done more easily.

“The one thing that I was so worried about before I got to school was how is lunch going to work,” she said. “Because you know, obviously we had to take off our masks and eat and stuff, but I think they did a good job with that.”

Class sizes remain small. Eiland said her largest class has about 12 students. Desks are spread out as much as possible to provide 6 feet of social distancing between students. Teachers clean equipment after each use.  

James and Eiland both said they are glad to have some in-person classes because online learning was hard for them. 

Eiland said the adjustment to online classes was hard. Even though teachers tried their best, it was not a good learning environment for her. 

As students look forward to a more normal school life, she said she cannot wait to have some of the things she took for granted back, such as homecoming and other social activities.

“I feel like that’s a lot of what you miss from this experience of not having a normal high school experience,” she said. “You don’t get those same big gatherings and just having fun for the sake of it, and I just look forward to kind of having those things back again.”