Adapting to the New School Life


Arrows in the hallways help students navigate safely.

Covid-19 has been around for 11 months and has somehow found a way to affect everyone’s lives. Although the virus alone has taken a toll on people’s health, students are missing out on what used to be considered normal activities. This national pandemic has created a whole list of protocols that we must consider the new “norm”.

Life at Shepaug was nothing but a blur from March 13, to June 18. Students never knew the two week vacation was going to turn into online school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Before the coronavirus hit, Shepaug was an exciting environment filled with sports, plays, clubs, friends and smiling faces in the classroom. Unfortunately those smiling faces aren’t visible anymore. After being in quarantine and online for three months, students were eager to get back into the classroom. This became a priority for the staff, but the only way for it to work was if safety became a priority as well. The state issued many laws and protocols in order to get kids back into school. The two most important regulations were wearing a mask and keeping a 6 foot distance from others at all times. To do this Shepaug used every space possible as a classroom and created arrows on the ground directing your walking path. Along with this we now have 3 different bells to separate grade levels and interactions in the hallways. Life in the classroom isn’t how it used to be. As you walk in you must spray your desk down and continue keeping a distance from your classmates. The six foot rule shows to be the hardest considering it must also be applied at lunch. These protocols have perceived a new challenge for students at Shepaug that they are willing to try and undertake during these hard times.

There is no question that the students in Shepaug have had to make some big changes in their day to day lives. Shepaug senior Brooke Donaghey, 17, spoke to us a little on her new daily changes. “I think that the new school schedule has a positive impact on my life. I have less homework most days which means less subject to memorize. With this new school schedule I really get more time to focus on my studies instead of being stressed 24/7.” With the new block schedule, students have more class time to dive deeper into their subjects and they have more time to get their homework done.

Shepaug sophomore Collin Harty, 15, added a little more to this idea. “The new schedule is definitely better for us students homework wise. Compared to the distance learning schedule, I feel less stressed out about getting my work done and handed in and ultimately, this school environment is helping me a lot more with my time management skills.”

Both Harty and Donaghey feel that even though the new environment is helpful for time management, it is still quite difficult for students to interact with each other which is a necessary component when kids are in school. The last question we asked ties in how the kids feel they have adapted to the crazy, new school protocols. “I think I have adapted well because of how much the new schedule is helping me get my work done”, Harty states. Getting homework or classwork done quickly and efficiently is really stress relieving as a high school student and that is why these students feel they have adapted well. “I have adapted well, however, I still have to keep reminding myself to socially distance and follow all of the new protocols that our school must keep in place in order to keep learning in person”, Donaghey exclaims. It is still going to take some time to fully get used to all of the new school mandates, but I am confident that everyone in our school is willing to do them in order to keep doing what we are doing.

Arrows in the hallways help students navigate safely.