By: Brooke Upright/Senior Writer
When the pandemic forced the school to close last year, very few people envisioned the resulting remote learning models or thought some students would be away from the building so long. Currently, students are back in school five days a week, or fully remote. So, what does school look like now?
When students heard about going back to school in person for the 2020-2021 school year, there were many thoughts and questions about what it would look for us during a pandemic. Senior Malaki Upright, mentioned that he was scared for his senior year because he didn’t want it to be ruined because of COVID-19.
Another senior, Sierra Bross, stated: “I wondered if there would be a homecoming dance or spirit week and if so, how different would it be from last years.”
One of the most important concerns in the school was the cafeteria. Sophomore Jordyn Mudge describes what the lunch line is like this year and how it works. She stated: “When students walk to the line to get their lunch they don’t grab trays or silverware. Instead, the lunch ladies will serve students from their lunch that they have that day and then hand it to them at the end of the line with milk and silverware. Students grab their lunch and proceed to checkout where the lunch lady plugs in your lunch number for you.¨
Students grab their lunch then head to their designated spaces. Freshman and sophomores eat in the cafeteria, while juniors eat in classrooms and seniors eat in the gym. Each student is at least six feet away from other students while eating, but is allowed to take off his/her mask when seated. Every table and chair is also sanitized before and after use as well.
Typically, the hallways are crowded with students moving from one class to another. Students keep their masks on there, too. There are arrows on hallway floors to guide students and serve as a reminder for students to maintain social distancing.
In some rooms, teachers are unable to accommodate the number of students in a class and are forced to send students elsewhere in order to maintain social distancing. That means some students who chose to forgo remote are experiencing remote learning anyway.
In physical education, each student has an assigned spot for attendance and must be conscientious about cleaning and sanitizing equipment when done using it.
School athletes say they have experienced changes to practice and games, but it seems to be minor, overall.
Senior Peyton Gelinger, a four-year volleyball player, says practices were fairly normal, “although at the end of each practice we made sure all equipment was sanitized.”
Senior soccer player Caiden George says: “Yeah, every practice began this year with a temperature check and we all wore masks while on the bench. But, the hardest part was the away games. We wore out masks the entire ride and weren’t allowed to eat.”
George says there are sometimes when you need to focus on the positive, no matter what.
“One thing that I got out of the season was that we played every game like it was our last, because it could have been, and being a senior playing soccer during a pandemic stinks, but you have to enjoy it while you can and hope that it doesn’t get cancelled.”
Even student transportation needed adjustments in order to maintain social distancing. Although students are expected to wear masks the entire trip, buses were not to full capacity during the hybrid attendance model.
Sophomore Briauna Hausser says: “Only half of the students rode the bus during the first marking period and that made social distancing easy. But now we are back to five days-a-week and the busses are full.”
Blue Ridge was forced to shut down due to a Covid-19 outbreak this week. Students will be fully remote from at least Friday, March 25, to Monday, March 29, 2021.