Select senior labs return to school


Erinn Harris

The Neurobiology lab lies empty as schooling for the first quarter has moved online. However, with recent moves made by FCPS and TJ, students from select labs will soon be able to return to school every Monday. “A small lab environment is a lot safer than going back to school for many classes every week,” senior Sophia Troshynski said of her decision to return to school.

Nathan Mo, Team Leader

Jefferson’s administration announced that students in select senior labs would be able to return to TJ’s facilities on Mondays in order to complete lab work. These four labs – Astronomy, Computer Systems, Oceanography, and Neurobiology – were selected after a survey and review process by FCPS. The announcement comes in lieu of FCPS’ announcement that they would be transitioning into in-person schooling for small cohorts of students experiencing challenges with distance learning or those who need in-person schooling to accomplish unique learning goals.

Some students found themselves in a predicament, trying to weigh out the benefits and risks of returning to school. 

In some cases, students felt that their online lab experience wasn’t much different than what they’d be getting in-person. 

“Our lab, computer systems, has arguably the least need to go back in person. I think most students whose projects are computer science based can do as much from home as they can at school,” senior Maria Izzi said. “But for projects that are more interdisciplinary like robotics, or projects that need access to hardware, I could see a need for them to go back.”

Other students highly valued being able to collaborate with classmates in addition to being able to work with TJ’s high-level technology.

“I really miss being in the planetarium and being able to work with my classmates. My project, building a Mars rover, will also benefit from having access to student resources and planning time,” senior Sophia Troshynski, a student in the Astronomy lab, said. 

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the COVID pandemic, students were able to come to their own decisions based on their own personal needs. 

I’ve seen all the schools with outbreaks and I know it would be especially hard to be around so many friends, during senior year,” Izzi said. “After not seeing friends for so long I don’t know how well the whole school would be able to adhere to distancing guidelines so I understand the need to stay home, especially because my lab experience would be more or less the same.”