Chief Country Re-opens, But With Changes

The+empty+student+parking+lot+at+Santaluces.

Kylee Johnson

The empty student parking lot at Santaluces.

Sabrina McCranels, Staff Writer

After months away from campus, an estimated 600 Chiefs will come back on campus Monday. Brick and mortar schools throughout Palm Beach County are also set to reopen. 

Many different precautions are being put into place so students and staff can remain as safe as possible. Please be aware that students and staff are required to wear a mask at all times on campus and on school buses. Washing hands often is highly recommended and classroom sharing will be limited to necessities. Hallways will be “one way” to help avoid face to face contact.

“I think it’s a good thing and if they let us get out of the house I’m all for it,” Sophomore Edith Martinez said about all the new procedures. 

Another major aspect that has been decided is that all students will be learning from a computer whether on campus or at home. Kids who attend school physically will need to bring their own laptop from home so they can follow along in class.

There is concern about bringing personal laptops to school, but students can fill out a form to get a Chromebook from the district to bring to school with them. This eliminates the need to share a computer from class to class, limiting any unnecessary exposure and solves the issue of the Chromebook shortages at school.

Some had expressed their worries about equal learning experiences if they were to stay home versus those who went into school.

“We wouldn’t be getting the proper educational needs as some of the other students in physical classrooms with our teachers,” Senior Marisa McClung said.

The school district argues that having everyone on a computer, whether at home or on campus, is a good way to prevent students from having unequal learning experiences.

However, the dual learning environment will become even harder for teachers to adapt to. Many teachers have mixed feelings about the upcoming week.

It will be nice to talk directly to some students on campus without the barrier of a mute button but I am expecting there to be delays in instruction time,” chemistry teacher, Ms. Henderson explains. “I am also worried about our vulnerable teachers who have been denied approval to work remotely. It is my greatest hope that by following all safety protocols we do not endanger our fellow chiefs or their families.”

Teachers, parents, and students have shared their concerns about the social distance guidelines and having to space every student six feet apart from each other. With more than 30 kids in one class, there simply isn’t enough room in classrooms to properly social distance.

Those who do not fit into the classrooms will be put into overflow rooms, whether that is an empty classroom, the gym, the library, the auditorium, etc. For some students, this was a factor in deciding whether or not they would return back on the 21st.

“I felt as though if we had to have overflow rooms then we weren’t properly prepared to go back,” McClung said. “I simply don’t think it’s worth it to go at this point in time”. 

Parents were asked to ‘make their choice’ on whether their kids will go back to school physically on the 21st or continue to stay home while distantly learning. If students show up to campus on the 21st without completing their form, they will be sent back home. Decisions can be changed in the same way. However, the school district asks for a seven day processing window.

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