Safety vs Normal: New Protocols
Following new school protocols will help ensure school can continue to be a "normal" as possible.
Hand sanitizer, face masks, and a computer in every students’ hands has replaced pencils, paper, and chapstick! This is the new “normal.”
Students are finally back in school after six months of being online! For most, fourth quarter and summer were a well-deserved break, but for others, it was too long. Due to Covid-19 and its seemingly endless effects, students have adjusted to a new “normal,” where hand sanitizer and face masks are a must. No one in the state of Utah is allowed to enter a public store or food chain without a face mask. Our world is currently upside down, yet it is the new normal.
Since the end of 2019-2020, district officials and teachers worked tirelessly to get back into school, where we all know we learn the best. They had to get their plans approved by the state before districts started school. A big part of the strategy is social distancing protocol, including wearing masks and staying six feet away from each other. The only problem is teachers are required to encourage students to follow the protocol. However, they cannot always enforce it. So the question is, are students following protocol.
Students have done an outstanding job of remembering to wear masks and to keep some distance between each other. “I am impressed with our student body. On the first day of school, I watched about a thousand students enter in from the parking lot and we only had one student who didn’t have a mask on, to which we provided the student with a mask, he had just forgotten his,” Dr. Brian McGill said. “Our masks, become our protective barrier.”
McGill reminded students that the masks don’t just protect them. Wearing masks offers more protection for susceptible adults in the building, he added.
When walking through the school, it is easy to see that students are happy to be back from the six-month break. Not only because this means life is returning to normal, but it also helps students not go insane. And because we are in school, we recognize the value of our masks and take it seriously. It is going to be week by week if we can keep ourselves safe from Covid, but new protocols will help make the school year as normal as possible.
Throughout the summer, the administration has set up everything we need on canvas in case anyone needs to quarantine they can keep up. Many, if not all of, the teachers at Alta have all put their assignments on canvas. In case the inevitable comes, and we need to shut down the school.
If there is a school closure, the administration feels comfortable that students will be able to keep up. For teachers who fall under the high-risk group, students are obligated to wear masks for their protection. “I’m old, I have health issues, I am at risk, and wearing the mask protects other people. I’m 100% okay with it, ” said teacher Karl Packer. “But I’m not positive on how well it works when you put 40 students in a class.”
Most teachers with smaller classes space their students out, and students sit in assigned seats to prevent exposure to more people. At lunch, in the east lunchroom, students are spaced out. But most students are encouraged to and are eating outside.
It is a strange year that has had its shortcomings and will continue to have a great deal more. But students can do their best to protect themselves, teachers, and school staff. It will be tough though it’s the only way to have a “normal” school year.