🏠😷🦠 Life As A QuaranTEEN 🦠😷🏠 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding COVID-19
Hamilton County has decided to move into Phase Three of the reopening plan as of Monday, August 31. That means all students will report to school for five days a week unless they are a part of Hamilton...
County Schools at home. HCS at home students will have a completely different school experience than the students who are in person, so you should check out the HCS at home blog as well, coming out next week. This particular blog will focus on the experiences of students who are attending school in person.
Hamilton County Schools have been in session for roughly two weeks, yet the district saw it fit for us to move from Phase Two of the reopening plan into Phase Three. Phase Two consists of a hybrid style of learning, where all schools are split into two main groups labeled 'Group A' and 'Group B.’ The groups are determined by students’ last names. Group A attends school Monday and Tuesday while Group B does online school from home. Group B went to school on Thursdays and Fridays, while the A group was taught virtually. On Wednesday’s both groups did online school from the comfort of their bedrooms.
Although both phases were developed with COVID-19 restrictions in mind, Phase Three is drastically different from Phase Two. Some key differences between these two phases are that vital precautions such as social distancing and large groups’ avoidance have been overlooked as Phase Three has started. Classrooms, and even spaces as large as lunchrooms, are not large enough to make accommodations for such a high number of students to be socially distanced properly. These facilities were not designed to isolate students from each other, so these new adjustments just aren't feasible. Some similarities between the phases are that they both enforce mask-wearing policies.
During Phase Two, low numbers of students strolled through the halls, and class sizes were less than half as full. Most classrooms could still arrange desks, tables, and seating properly, so there was space between each person. Currently, I sit right next to and directly across from other students every day. Throughout the past few weeks, the sanitizing of tables and classroom equipment had been pretty consistent, but even with that comes, students not cleaning their areas properly or teachers forgetting to clean in between classes altogether.
I prefer in-person learning because of the connections I can make with my fellow students and teachers, understand the lessons better, and have somewhat of a normal senior year. As an in-school attendee, I felt safe and relatively happy going to school, but now, as we move higher up in the phases, rules become more relaxed despite the rising case numbers. When the district continues to move higher in the reopening phases, it sends the wrong message that we are nearing normalcy, so we don’t have to be as cautious as we were in the beginning. The statistics, however, are showing otherwise. I just hope that the board hears our concerns as students, notices the teachers’ and parents’ strain, and considers reevaluating what this school year will look like.
Hamilton County decided to move to Phase Three, which means all students report at school five days a week unless you are HCS at home. Every day going to school felt weird at first and was exhausting since I hadn’t done it since March. Most of my classes are full and were not following the social distancing rules. The teachers and staff were trying their best to follow all the guidelines, but in short, there are just too many students to maintain a distance of six feet. It seemed unsafe, and I know many students and parents aren’t comfortable with the move to Phase Three. All students can change their status to option 3 or HCS at Home, but there are just some classes that need to be done in person, which is why I, myself, haven’t switched to all online. Hopefully, everyone is safe, and trying to follow the guidelines as much as possible.
The switch from Phase Two to Phase Three has been an adjustment, but I’m sure we’ll all get used to the new normal that is among us. Tune in next week, where we will share insight from HCS at home students.