Safety In School

The+lunch+room+used+to+be+the+locus+of+student+anxiety%2C+but+seems+to+be+a+lot+less+so+now+that+tables+have+been+traded+in+for+distanced+desks.+School+lunches+are+now+free+for+all+students.

Sophia Francisco

The lunch room used to be the locus of student anxiety, but seems to be a lot less so now that tables have been traded in for distanced desks. School lunches are now free for all students.

Avery Chalk, Writer

As April 12 draws closer, students are preparing for their return to school at almost full capacity for the first time in more than a year. Covid-19 has made it difficult for teenagers to have a “regular” high school experience, and getting the majority of students back into the building will no doubt nurture normal routines once more.

There is something to be said about rising safety concerns, however. With the emergence of a new 3-feet distance rule, pool testing, and stricter health protocols, day-to-day school life will look much different from the smaller cohorts from the beginning of the year. While in-person classrooms are not yet filled, these new guidelines are a quite important step on the journey towards a Covid-free education experience.

The new spacing of desks will look similar to this throughout the school. (Sophia Francisco)

As of recently, pool testing is in full swing at Franklin Highschool. Covid tests have been taken throughout those who chose to be included in the trial, being checked for traces of the virus within small groups of students rather than individually. This method saves both money and time, as close contacts will be contained and notified almost immediately after a positive swab is reported.

Hanna Mayo, a sophomore at FHS, likes the thought of pool testing. “More students means more close contacts,” she explained. “[Pool testing] could give a sense of comfort knowing which people around you have recently tested negative.”

Pool testing isn’t the only new safety protocol within those going back to school: Desks will now be set 3-feet apart. This change was approved by the CDC, but one can’t help but feel uneasy after months of strict 6-feet proximity limits. Masks and sanitization measures will still be in full effect, but closer boundaries may have played a role in deciding whether or not to remain online.

Previous Covid protocols will remain enforced, such as wearing masks and using wipes. (Creative Commons)

Mayo was one of the smatterings of students who chose not to return to the building until the fall. “I guess it was partly safety-related,” she admitted. Other factors, such as comfort levels from home, have seemingly influenced her choice further. “Part of me is happy with my decision, and part of me isn’t.”

With CDC-approved boundaries, masks and wipes, and the emergence of pool testing, students returning to school can rest assured that it is as safe as can be during this time. With summer break on the horizon, returning to school before the next school year may be a refreshing experience – especially knowing that safety protocols will be followed to a T.