Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash
The weather is shifting as spring approaches and the day that marks one year of online school gets closer and closer. The news is constantly on, talking about the possible return to school; but it’s hard to imagine that day ever approaching. But now, there is talk about entering the red tier and excitement builds up as this fantasy starts turning into reality. It is time to prepare for back to school; but things won’t be the same.
As Miramonte starts to plan the return back to school, it is easy to be excited about going back to the way things were. However, major changes were made and nothing remains the same. There will be safety and health protocols implemented on campus, including the classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, cafeteria, and the quad.
One aspect of returning to campus that excites students is seeing their friends and socializing at lunch. “I’m really looking forward to social interaction and seeing my friends,” junior Thomas Quinnild said. Lunch will accommodate approximately 300 students during each of the lunch periods. The Miramonte staff has counted seats on campus and is designating distanced seating. So although students can come back, they sadly cannot sit with all of their friends at lunch. Cohorts A and B will also be split up into two more groups to minimize the number of students eating. When group A is eating lunch, Group B will be in academy, and vise versa. Also, designated lines in the cafeteria will be created to serve food in a distanced fashion and prepared food items for quick pickup. There will also be an additional campus supervisor and several teachers on lunch duty to help supervise. “We believe with this system in place, we can successfully have lunch with distancing,” Principal Julie Parks said.
One area students love to socialize is in the halls during the passing period. There will be designated routes one way to reduce face-to-face contact contact and directional arrows placed in hallways. In addition, some, but not all, bathroom stalls will be locked to minimize bathroom occupancy. Students will learn about specific norms and how to check bathrooms through training modules the week prior to returning to school. “I fully believe that after the training prior to reopening, our students will be able to navigate campus in the new ways we have designed – with some reminders and support from staff!” Parks said.
In addition, regulations in the classroom to maintain social distancing will be implemented. Classroom space will be arranged to remove furniture, allowing for maximum distance between students and staff. Student desks will also be six feet apart and personal protective equipment, including desk shields, will be provided in classrooms.
Lastly, activities at Miramonte will be different. Large gatherings such as rallies will remain virtual. “I was really looking forward to rallies this year because I’m a freshman and I’ve heard their super fun, so it sucks that I can’t experience them in person this year,” freshman Bowen Sande said.
The air around begins to get warmer as the one year mark of being out of school approaches. The long awaited return is so close and eagerness builds up for life to somewhat go back to normal. Precautions must be made, but that is alright because it can’t take away from the excitement that is building. This is a step in the right direction for Miramonte!