Faculty both new and old have changed many aspects of their jobs and the school’s rules. The most significant change for many may be the policy to wear a mask on campus at all times- or there will be consequences.
Central looks different after the five month long “spring break.” Snack machines are empty, each class takes designated bathroom breaks, breakfast and lunch come prepackaged, water fountains are covered, and much more.
These changes are having positive and negative reactions this year. After attending in-person classes for just over 3 weeks, freshman Shania Lionhart says “it’s fun to run around with a mask on because I can make silly faces at my friends and they won’t even know. There weren’t a lot of changes, but the vending machines were turned around, so that sucks. I also hate getting pestered to pull my mask up when it slips off.” The mask policy at Central High is an important concern to the staff and students.
As far as Knox County Schools’ plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they require teachers, administrators, students, school staff, and visitors to wear masks on school property at all times. According to a back to school article by Knox News, before students can enter school, they walk through a machine that looks sort of like a metal detector, but instead the students placed their wrists on a sensor that takes their temperature. If a temperature reads over 100.4 degrees, a student is sent to a designated quarantine room where 17 desks are spaced out for students to wait for a parent to pick them up. On the first day of school, no students were sent to this room.
Only around 1,000 students have chosen to learn in-person which means about 30% of students are participating in online school until early December, where families can change their mind if need be. According to Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?, by The Guardian, once new infections fall to a level that hospitals can manage, it is predicted different areas will still experience a series of peaks and valleys in virus caseloads until a vaccine can be developed, something that scientists say will likely take at least 12 to 18 months.
Central is doing all they can to make everyone safe. There are designate assigned seats in each class to aid in contact tracing when quarantining is needed.
While learning in person, Shania says “we have to wear masks all day, but we take breaks occasionally during class so that we can take a breather.” While these breaks are minimal, and only every once in a while, it is still important to have them- and stay as far away as you can from other students while doing so. Central has also taped a line in the middle of all hallways- students walking in the same direction stay on the right side of the hall.
No one knows what is going to happen next with COVID-19. However, students and faculty are trying their best at Central High School to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. Thank you, Central, for all you have done to try and keep the kids safe. And thank you, reader, for all you have done during this pandemic.
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