The New Normal

The New Normal

by Phoebe F.

Even with the changes made to school this year, students and staff alike are beginning to adjust to this new way of life. The administration worked really hard over the summer to be able to open the doors for the students and staff in September. 

“I think at first our biggest challenge was reopening,” said Duxbury High School Principal Mr. Donovan. “We changed almost everything based on the regulations that continued to evolve as the summer progressed.”

The administration reviewed a lot of ways to build the bell schedule this year. 

“Were we to have kept the schedule that was supposed to start this fall, it would have taken twenty school days to complete a cycle of six classes in and six classes remote,” said Mr. Donovan. “Our every class, every day model certainly has its drawbacks and we are working to address each of them. However, it offered our students and teachers an opportunity to interact every day and that was so important to us in reopening school after the lay-off last spring.”

The hybrid schedule is not the same as being in school full in person. However, with that not being safe, staff and students are still glad to be in school, even if it is only twice a week. 

Senior Wes M. says, “The only thing that’s sad about it, is not seeing your friends that are on the other day.” 

DHS history teacher Mr. Aukerman is still coping with the changes.

“I miss being able to walk around in class. I miss being able to sit and talk to students. I miss it.” 

People don’t hate the hybrid schedule. 

“I like that on the days when I’m home, I can see my family more and it’s easier to get homework done because I don’t have to go anywhere,” said freshman Elizabeth C. 

This new way of school has been an adjustment for everyone, however, people are getting used to it. 

“By the time you’re a senior you’re good at time management and you know how you work at least,” said Wes M., “so this hybrid schedule has kind of thrown a wrench in it because you’ve gone from these three years of life knowing how you work and what’s best for you and then suddenly school becomes completely changed.”

Some people feel that Wednesdays are a nice break in the week, as well as a good time to catch up on assignments. 

“I think I like that you have one day where you can kind of relax because you’re not on Zoom or in person, ” said freshman Elizabeth C., “but I’m also glad that we don’t do that every day because I like the social interaction and it’s less motivating.” 

The schedule, Academic Support Period, lunches, bathrooms, cleaning protocols, classroom assignments were all changed this year to accommodate the COVID guidelines. 

The schedule changed from being a rotation to having the same schedule every day. Academic Support Period was put in every student’s schedule this year during the same block. Lunch also occurs during the Academic Support Period. Student’s have the options to sit in the cafeteria, gym, the athletic hallway, and breadboard for seniors. Students have to be at least six feet apart when eating. 

Bathrooms have changed in that paper towel machines have been installed in the bathroom to avoid the use of the hand dryers. And only one person is supposed to be in the bathroom at a time. 

Cleaning protocols have also changed. There are hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the building. And students and teachers are expected to clean desks at the start of a new class period. The regular cleaning that typically happens after the school day has also increased, including cleaning and sanitizing tables between lunch groups. 

Classroom assignments are different this year because the school had to take into consideration how many students could be in a classroom at a given time. Desks are supposed to be a minimum of three feet apart, so that limits how many desks can be in a classroom. So, classroom assignments had to be made smaller this year to accommodate for social distancing guidelines. 

Even with the rising cases of COVID-19 within Duxbury (there has been a total of 252 cases, which is an increase of 17 cases, since last week), as well as the state, Duxbury Public Schools have been able to remain open. However, it requires a team effort, from everyone, to keep the doors open. 

“The most important thing we can do to stay in school is to follow the protocols inside and outside of school to the greatest extent possible, “ said Mr. Donovan. “If we follow the protocols for social distancing inside the building, on the athletic fields and off campus, we are putting ourselves in the best position possible to be in school all year.  These last eight months have been incredibly draining for everyone, however we can’t let our guard down and misplace our focus or energy now.”

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