North Installs New Precautions for Returning to School

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On Nov. 4, students that chose to attend in-person schooling will be met with new rules and policies in place to keep the North community safe during the rest of the quarter.

Diana Baeza and Jalen Williams

As the second quarter of school is upon us, many students at North will begin attending school in-person. Although it is in-person learning, it will not be the same experience as it was before since there will be new rules and procedures staff and students will need to follow to keep everyone safe. “When you enter the building, you go straight to your classrooms. So when the busses come, we will unload two busses at a time, allowing individuals to come in,” said principal Dr. Tori Cain. “In busses, we will have assigned seating so they know where the students have been seated [for contact tracing]. I think there will be two students per seat on the bus.”
As of Oct. 29, administrators have scheduled the busses to arrive at 7:20 a.m. Students will then walk to their designated Ac Labs instead of staying in the commons prior to classes starting. Students who buy breakfast may do so before heading to their classroom but must maintain social distancing while doing so. Students will first fill out a four question self assessment of their own physical wellness and possible symptoms of illness. Those who are feeling unwell, are asked to stay at home.
Both breakfast and lunch will be free for all students as of now. “As of right now, everyone will be expected to social distance. Masks will be required at all times. Kids will not be permitted to travel from room to room during Ac Lab. There will be assigned seating during lunches and there will be designated times to use restrooms” said English teacher Valarie Townsend.
The Parkway School District will universally follow a specific schedule of 100 minutes per class with 70 minutes of instruction, 20 minutes of support and intervention and 10 minute hygiene breaks. There’s no social time or unstructured time to walk the halls Students will be isolated in their respective classrooms with an assigned group.
“[Everyone will have] assigned seating, same seats the whole quarter. [There will be] no pod seating, etc. [Seating will be strictly] rows and columns of desks, all facing the same way. Social distancing will be enforced in the classroom, no close group work or pod discussions or the like,” said social studies teacher Scott Nilsen.
Staff and administers will try to eliminate extra furniture in classrooms in order to obtain the maximum space for students and teachers to follow safety guidelines during instruction and class work and continue to maximize social distancing and contact tracing by having less students at lunch at one time..
“We will actually be having four lunches instead of the three,” said Dr. Cain who added that there will be QR codes placed on lunch tables to “timestamp when students sit there for contact reason purposes.”
To limit contact in hallways, signs will be posted to remind students and staff to stay to the farthest right of the hallway. There will also be tape on the floors to direct foot traffic. Dismissal will be different as well.
“On the first floor, [students will be] released at 2:25 p.m., where you would hear an announcement . Then, a couple minutes later, [an announcement releases students on] the second floor. We may even divide up the students into social studies, English, world language, then math and science,” said Dr. Cain.
Another precaution that’s being taken is to designate certain stairways to certain classes.
“When we tell students which stairwell to go down, it will help alleviate the congestion, which is what we are trying to do.” said Dr. Cain.
Throughout the school, many signs will be posted to remind students to be safe, wear masks at all times, sanitize and wash hands regularly and to follow the six feet social distancing guideline. Hand sanitizing stations will be located around the school.
“I know this is stressful and I know there is a lot of uncertainty because of the unknowns but once we color in the picture, it will become clearer about how we will learn to adapt. I believe in us, we are resilient; and I know that in the end, we will work through this,” said Dr. Cain
Nov. 10 is the first day that students will be in the building.. For all students, whether they are in the virtual school, doing distance learning, or in-person that day, school will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.