Back To School: The New Norm
September 13, 2020
The changes within our school may seem a bit overwhelming to some, so here are all the changes made to help our students to feel more comfortable and safe.
- The New Block Schedule Schedule
- Students have been given an A/B block schedule, and all were provided with the option of choosing a Digital Academy.
Principal Dr.Kevin Molin saw the importance of helping students manage their curricular focuses.
“The shift to a ‘Block Schedule’ was made after listening to feedback from students and parents,” said Molin. “Based on the feedback, we heard that students struggled to manage all of their classes. The ‘Block Schedule’ allows students to focus on just a few classes at a time, which, if we have to go virtual for either a short or long period of time, should assist them to better manage their academics. After meeting with the Sapphire programmers, our counselors began changing the master schedule in June. Counselors then spent the months of June, July, and August scheduling students for either A/B or Digital Academy.”
Students have learned to overcome the challenge of not seeing all of their friends in order to remain safe.
Senior Katie Henry has missed parts of her friend group.
“It’s definitely hard being separated from half of my friends, and even the friends within my schedule, it’s not like we all can stand around and walk together and give hugs like we used to,” said Henry. “It’s just something I didn’t want to see in my last year of school, but we can work through it.”
Although there are overall restrictions on what teachers can do, some teachers are approaching their classes differently than others.
English Teacher Erica Littleton has the same goal as in past years of teaching.“I believe that the schedule was made in the best interest of our students,” said Littleton. “It is new; it is a change, I do feel it will benefit students.”
With the latest restrictions and an uncertain future many have their concerns on how extracurricular activities will work.
“The school created and submitted a School Board approved ‘return to play’ plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The guidelines apply to all extracurriculars,” said Molin. “One of the issues we have to address is indoor activities such as theatre and volleyball. Those activities are really impacted by the 25 person limit. Now that school is moving ahead, we will begin to look at options for students in those areas. All other activities, outdoor sports and marching band are in the process of moving ahead with their seasons.”
With the new block schedule, both A and B students are home on Wednesdays. On that day teachers meet up with their students through Google Meets for either a lesson, a question and answer session, or one-on-one instruction to help with their schoolwork. Each group of teachers are given their own period of time so there is as little conflict as possible within schedules; although, a few time periods have small time overlaps. This day also gives the janitorial staff time to properly clean the school in time for the next group of students to come in the following days.
A new lunch schedule has been created, so students can safely have lunch while staying within the rules that have been placed. There are seven hand washing stations outside of the cafeteria that students are asked to use before entering to have their lunch, and the seating is limited to their lunch’s three tables with each seat spaced out. This is the one time during the day where students are allowed to take off their mask to be able to eat.
- The Student View
With all of the changes that have come to Susquehannock, students have formed their own opinions.
“As a senior, the amount of change that I see happening is encouraging,” said Henry. “Of course, I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but I see it as at least some way to be in school, I’ll take what I can get.”
Although this new year is uncertain and sometimes a little scary, the school community has come together to do the best they can to make it the best and safest for the students and staff.
“In the beginning of my high school career I always rolled my eyes when they said that we all together are this big family, but this past year has really opened my eyes to the fact that we are,” said Henry. “We really, really are this big family community, and we aren’t alone, and we are all trying and working together. We all want the same thing. So I hope that our underclassmen really cling to that idea to help them through their own time with our school.”