With the 2020-2021 school year coming to a close, many students and teachers at C.B. South are wondering what next year’s classroom will be looking like. Basing their directions off orders from the state, the school board informed schools the only uncertainty for next year will be whether or not we will be wearing masks.
The 2020-2021 school year was largely an improv routine on a greater scale. From starting out fully online, moving to hybrid, and ending with a fully in school option, this year was a test to see how prepared we were for school during a pandemic.
South is a very large school with around 1,800 students. Keeping all those students safe and engaged was a struggle for teachers like Mr. Lake, a math teacher at South, who much prefer the in-person education to the part online and part in-person instruction.
“Who do you look at,” Mr. Lake said, “it’s hard trying to interact with both.” He says if you have more students in person than online, you will instinctively give more attention to those in front off you and the virtual students will “kind of get lost”.
The act of wearing masks every time we go out has been something Americans all across the country have gotten used to, despite the mandate getting pushed on them so suddenly. People are still wondering how much longer we must keep them on, especially at school.
Mr. Bucher, the Head Principal at South, said that everything depends on guidance from the Governor’s office, that we can’t say anything about the mask mandate yet.
Mr. Bucher only knows as much as the government tells him, and therefore he is virtually in the dark. The one certainty is that school will open-up more when the country reaches the 70% vaccination threshold. How we will open-up is unclear.
One thing we can expect with the 70% threshold approaching soon is that all capacity limits at school will be lifted. According to a report from the Wolf Administration, all restrictions, except mask mandates, will be lifted in Pennsylvania on May 31, at 12:01 a.m.
Because of this, there will no longer be a need for online school as it will not be an option come September, according to Mr. Bucher. “If it’s up to the district, there will be no online instruction,” Bucher says, “if PDE (Pennsylvania Department of Education) says it’s a must, then it could exist like it does now.”
Other then masks and possible online learning, the remainder of this year and next year will be looking as much like “real school” as possible, Mr. Lake says.
The “as possible” part is still a necessity, though.
Mr. Piscelli, the Sophomore House Principal, said that desks will still be three feet apart from each other to stay safe with the full population of South returning.
Another concern of students and parents is the return of field trips for next year. A bug one being the overseas trip for the foreign language students that this year’s and last year’s Junior’s missed out on.
Señora Hoffman, a Spanish teacher at South, said that a trip to Spain is in the plans and is likely going to happen for the 2021-22 Juniors.
Before the 2021-22 year even starts however, an orientation will be needed for the coming Sophomores so they can familiarize themselves with South’s overwhelming size.
According to Mr. Bucher, there will be an orientation day within the building on May 27, and there will be a “Welcome to South” day over the summer. However, the assemblies may be held in the gym to reduce possible spread, said Mr. Piscelli.
One big concern for many South students is the return of sports games to full capacity, mainly the favorited football games. “Titan Terror” is a big part of South’s culture and not having it this year was disappointing to all students, the Seniors in particular.
Mr. Lake, who also serves as a swim coach at South, said that the sports games will open-up to students for next year because of the restrictions on capacity being lifted on May 31.
As the school year ends, we say goodbye to a year that was tough on students and teachers alike. However, the final event of the year, Senior Graduation, is completely unrestricted capacity wise, according to Mr. Bucher
The Graduation was the way to signal the start of the road back to normalcy in the classroom this coming year.