"Kermit The Frog" by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity Photographer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
As announced on Jan. 29, Starr’s Mill started back with students fully in-person five days a week this past Wednesday.
While this is a good plan to help students learn, now is not the best time. With students just starting to get back into the groove of things for the semester, this new change is going to cause students to struggle.
Students will have to readjust to a new schedule, while the potential for being exposed to COVID-19 will double with that number of students in the hallways. In addition, students have less time to get to class in more crowded halls, and have shorter lunch periods.
With winter break coming up on Feb. 15, just over a week after going green, there is no point in making this change now. As of the Feb. 5 update from the Board of Education, Starr’s Mill has 25 students and faculty currently in quarantine. It can be expected that that number will increase next week after having all the students back in the building.
The best plan the school could have chosen is to stay on yellow until winter break and reevaluate after students return. Cases are predicted to rise during this upcoming break due to all of the traveling students will be doing. Starr’s Mill reported its highest this semester immediately after the semester break.
With such a high number of students in the building, it makes it nearly impossible for larger classes to social distance. While, yes, the masks help protect us, I have seen a number of students wearing them below their nose or even mouth, which completely eliminates the purpose.
One way the administration chose to allow for more social distancing during lunch periods was to go from three to four lunches. This change leaves us now with only 24 minutes to eat our lunches, and that includes the time it takes to walk there. During lunches, students are supposed to be sitting two to a table and six feet apart so they can eat without masks, yet I commonly see three to five students all at the same table eating.
To build this extra lunch period, time between classes was shortened from seven to five minutes. With the increase of people in the one way hallways it takes anywhere between three and six minutes to get there depending on the distance and one-way traffic pattern.
With only five minutes between classes, it makes me wonder how teachers are able to properly sanitize the class and also get anything ready that they need for their next class? It sounds almost impossible to me, especially with less time and now twice as many desks to clean.
While returning to green is supposed to be good for our education, it is not easy and certainly not worth putting student health at risk. If we would just wait until after the break to reevaluate, students could be able to (hopefully) come back for a longer period of time.
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