“New” Normal at SCHS


Photo Credit: Robbi McKenny

As students enter the school, they get their temperatures checked.

Caitlin Kronberg, Staff Reporter

The 2020-2021 school year is like no other here at Schuyler Central High School. Student and staff safety is one of the top priorities. Classes have started again, and with it new protocols have been put in place to deter the spread of the Covid-19 virus. These measures include masks, desk disinfection, hand sanitizers, and changes in the lunchroom. 

One new measure to deter the spread of the virus is a temperature check as students and staff walk through the door. A heat detecting camera checks for a high temperature, and if it picks anything up, a staff member will check again with a forehead thermometer. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that all plans to reopen schools should require anyone inside the building to wear masks. “I’m fine with the masks I don’t mind, I gotta do my part as much as anyone else”, said Alexis Fajardo, a senior student. Wearing masks helps prevent the spread of airborne germs, while uncomfortable for some, cloth masks keep students safe and healthy. “The students are doing a great job wearing their masks at school. I am very proud of all of my students for being compliant during this difficult time”, said Melanie Gustafson, one of Schuyler Central High School’s Speech teachers. 

Another new safety tool is the use of disinfectant sprays. Sprays were used before the virus to clean, but it is now used much more often throughout the day. Before entering the classroom, the teacher sprays each student’s hands with hand sanitizer. Teachers hold the doors open so that they are the only ones touching the handles. The amount of germs being carried from place to place is reduced. “I don’t feel like I’m at risk, because the school is taking many precautions to prevent any cases of Covid from showing up at our school” said Katherine Lugo, a junior at SCHS. 

While construction on the high school’s new gym is still in the final stages, the new lunchroom is already being used by hundreds of hungry students. The new setup works with two lunch lines that help slow the rush of traffic. This is the only area where students can take off their masks. Optional outdoor lunch tables also seat extra students where the breeze can freshen the air and students can be more distanced. Regretfully, the salad bar is not in use because the serving utensils would be touched by all the students and could spread harmful bacteria.

New online classes and communications have been put in place for the worst case scenario that school has to shut down for two weeks. Mrs. Gustafson says that “each classroom even has a Remind [app] that allows me to text all my students at once”. Mrs. Gustafson says that she once took teaching in person for granted. Apex online classes, Google Classroom, Flipgrids, NoRedInk and email are all tools for in class and remote learning that teachers at SCHS are using. . Communication will be better with all these systems in place if the school were forced to return to a remote learning format. 

SCHS is working to preserve the school year.  Staff and students are wearing masks, sanitizing hands, disinfecting desks, and taking other precautions as much as possible. The school’s new normal will help keep students in class for as long as possible.