Virtual Back to School Night—Our New Reality

By MANINDER DHESI ‘22

COVID-19 will be over any day now,” our March selves assured us. “Everything will be normal again soon.” Yet, as of October 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to play a significant role in daily life. Major events and activities had to adapt to fit within the screens of devices to maintain public health, with virtual meetings becoming the central means of communication.

While many of these events rely on programs such as Zoom and Google Meet to maintain a live environment, the virtual Back to School Night, released on September 17, consisted of pre-recorded videos, introducing an aspect of accessibility and convenience. 

“It…allowed more parents to be involved, as they could access the videos at any time of day, rather than having to dedicate a specific block of time.”

LEeANNE MCKNIGHT, Mathematics Teacher

For parents who juggle various tasks in their daily lives, a virtual Back To School Night that they can access whenever they are available proved to be extremely convenient.

“It…allowed more parents to be involved, as they could access the videos at any time of day, rather than having to dedicate a specific block of time,” said Mathematics teacher, Mrs. LeeAnne McKnight.

With traffic being a major disruption of an otherwise fully successful Back to School Night, the modified Virtual Back to School Night allowed more parents to more conveniently access this event. Despite this added convenience that this Virtual Back to School Night brings parents, the online format sacrificed the live and more personal experience of a traditional evening.

“It is always nice to meet the parents in person, especially the parents whose older children I’ve taught in the past—I can get updates on what they’re doing,” said English teacher at EHS, Mrs. Gina Corsun.

Conducting a Virtual Back to School Night can take away from relationships forming between parents and teachers, making it more difficult for teachers to troubleshoot with parents as the year progresses.

This Virtual Back to School Night offered a unique opportunity for the Edison High School community as a whole to explore alternatives to the traditional Back to School Night. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to daily life, this appears to be one of the most successful of these changes.

District Superintendent Dr. Bernard F. Bragen took a longer view of the change.

“Virtual Back to School Nights may be one of those things that stays with us after the pandemic,” he said.