By Maclaine Willett, Editor-in-chief
As the 2021-2022 academic year has begun, and mostly all of the aspects of school at Nantucket High School are back to normal since the outbreak of COVID-19. There have been some adjustments to the school that seem to be taking school news by storm. One of these adjustments is the chromebook mandate that was presented to the students of NHS for the 2020-21 school year, but only fully instated this year. This new rule states that all students at NHS, regardless of grade level, may not use a personal computer, and instead must use a school-issued device during school hours in the building. This is different from years past where students were able to use personal computers and bring them to-and-from school.
Last year, when the rule was first proposed they were faced with strong student backlash. Organized by then-seniors John Carl McGrady and Grace Hood, student discomfit was expressed in the form of a well organized letter, signed by over 130 members of the student body. The rejection of the rule was so extreme that the administration edited the rule so teachers could individually choose whether or not to allow students to use personal computers in their classes. Most teachers chose not to. This privilege was first offered to seniors only, then progressed to the whole student body. But students were still offered a school-issued chromebook if they wished to use one instead or didn’t have access to a personal device.
This year, however, the rule is back with no leniency.With this new rule, students are only permitted to use the chromebooks and can only connect to the Wi-Fi if the device is school-issued. Principal Mandy Vasil states that the progression of this idea has been a tad “backwards” at NHS, since most schools start with only allowing school-issued devices and move on to personal devices if they wish.
Mrs. Vasil explains that the whole root of the change stemmed from Wi-Fi issues that arose due to the usage of personal computers. The personal computers that students were using in the building, a category that made up the majority of the devices used in school, were bringing viruses and technological issues to the network, crashing the Wi-Fi, in effect. This issue was, and still is, one that needed to be addressed, because “people were working in the summer and every night on the Wi-Fi for this school year,” and even so, “there were still classrooms without Wi-Fi on the first week of school.” Mrs. Vasil harps on the fact that these staff members were working very hard to resolve the network issues and still had difficulties due to the usage of personal computers.
Regarding the responses to this change, the student response must be acknowledged, whether it be positive or negative. For this particular instance, the majority of the student response happens to be negative, as some students feel as though they have lost a worthy privilege and are disappointed.
Others just don’t know the reason for this change and felt blindsided. As senior Quincy Sullivan explains, “I just feel like it should be a privilege given to at least the seniors since we have higher level classes and things like School to Career.” There are also students that feel indifferent about the change and believe that it is out of their hands and uncontrollable. Whatever the case may be, passionate or indifferent, the students will have to adjust to this change, since Mrs. Vasil states that this is most likely a permanent change.
Principal Vasil stressed that the key takeaway she wishes students to have going forward is that she “encourages” students experiencing issues with their chromebooks to “come let us know.” Vasil went on to explain that the administration and technology department are always willing to make alterations if the device is not working properly.
The chromebook mandate is something that was an adjustment for most but has helped with the Wi-Fi issues in the school. Whether a student agrees or disagrees with the change, it will be a permanent change to the school’s accumulation of rules, enforced at NHS and the rest of the Nantucket Public School system. Again, the administration and faculty urge whoever is having issues with their school-issued device to talk to the technology department for assistance to make this adjustment smoother from a personal device to a chromebook.