With COVID-19, this school year is going to look a little different. There is going to be a new face-to-face system as well as new rules and regulations in regards to the student’s and staff’s safety.
“I can’t wait until students are back,” Principal Laura Lemke said. “FHS is a quiet and lonely space without all of the students here. Think about it: we haven’t seen each other in six months due to COVID. We have a number of safety measures being put into place. Masks are required to be worn by staff and students while on a bus and in the buildings, except when eating in the classroom. Hand sanitizer units have been installed in the classrooms; signage is being placed with reminders about hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing; plexiglass dividers for clerical staff are being installed; protocols for contract tracing include QR codes with COVID questions at doors, sign in/out for bathroom usage, assigned seats in classrooms (to track who has been next to whom for 15 minutes or longer; desk cleaning; sanitization of frequently touched items These are just some of the new safety precautions we are taking to prepare.”
Passing time in the hallways has also raised questions. A few features like lockers will no longer be available and hallway traffic will be adjusted to limit exposure from travel. After eight months of quarantine, many are anxious to gain a sense of normalcy from a return to face-to-face learning.
“Although getting back to an in-person schedule will take some getting used to again— especially with all of the new safety precautions and changes to the daily schedule— I am so looking forward to seeing the kids again,” english teacher Megan Ake said. “This also means that I’ll get to see their faces instead of just an avatar or black screen on Google Meet, and that will be really nice. With the modified schedule (A week/B week), the amount of potential exposure during the school day is reduced. “Last year, for instance, I saw 185 students daily, including my SRT students. With the A/B weeks, I’ll now be seeing, at most, maybe 90 a day.”
Body language can be a huge indicator for teachers trying to understand and help their students. Virtual learning takes that aspect away because some students do not allow access to their camera or do not have a camera available.
“Being able to be in person will be a lot easier for teachers so that we can read body language and facial expressions,” Dual Enrollment Program Administrator Kelly Boike said. “I am so ready to have students in the building again. Technology has been amazing, ensuring that I can see students face-to-face. Usually in Friday Seminars there is a small group of students so it’ll be quite easy to keep the students at a distance.”
New updates to the COVID-19 safety plan will continue to be posted in the weekly updates managed by Lemke.