by BRIANNA TRIPODI
These past six months have been a struggle for everyone, and with no end in sight, it is a challenge as we try to go back to our “regular” lives while simultaneously trying to abide by all of the new rules and regulations. When I heard we were going back to school, I was in complete shock since it seems impossible to try to stop the spread of a virus but still have hundreds of kids in schools. I fear that we will not be in school for much longer and we will be moving to fully virtual learning because an outbreak can happen at any time. For the most part, I believe that OHS has put a lot of effort into keeping us all safe, even though none of this is ideal.
The most important thing about trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 is wearing masks – the school has made masks mandatory for students and staff. Also, the classroom desks are spaced out which is important since we are supposed to be six feet apart at all times. OHS created more than one entrance to get into the school and have designated socially distanced spaces that are mandatory to go to if you enter the school before the first bell. In the hallways, the middle part is blocked off so that people who are going opposite directions do not get too close to each other. Also, there are many stickers on the ground that indicate how far apart we should be. Lastly, the floors and desks are noticeably cleaner which is a very important step towards stepping the spread of the virus. Lastly, for in-school learning, places like the library and cafeteria have changed so much. They split the cafeteria tables in half and only allow two kids sitting horizontally from each other at the table. In the library, you are also only allowed two kids at each table sitting horizontally from each other, and some of the chairs in the back are crossed off since they are not six feet away from the other chairs.
OHS is also adopting a hybrid learning model this year. All of the kids in the school were split up into two groups: “white” and “blue”. The blue team goes every Tuesday and Wednesday and the white team goes every Thursday and Friday; they both alternate going on Mondays. This was a great idea because it limits the amount of kids in the building and allows the desks to be more spaced out. There are also less kids in the hallways when changing classes.
Things aren’t perfect, though. It’s hard to socially distance when leaving class sometimes. In the mornings, we need to sit in the auditorium (socially distanced) before the first bell – this is a great idea so kids don’t huddle up in the hallway, but when we leave the auditorium, it’s through one door so we all end up being on top of each other. Also, crossing off the middle of the hallway sounds much more effective than it actually is. It makes the sides of the hallways where kids need to walk so small and everyone is more huddled up than we would be if the middle wasn’t crossed out.
This is the new normal…besides the small hiccups, I feel as if the school is doing a great job during a time that is so foreign to ALL of us.