School is back in session for the students at Glenbrook School. Students this year are facing changes and challenges not familiar to anyone before them, so some of Glenbrook’s students from a variety of different grades took some time out of their busy school schedule to share some of the changes that they experienced when returning to school.
The four students that were interviewed include Eastland Carrigan, a Senior, Haley Self, Junior, Treat Miller, 5th Grade, and Emma Fox, 2nd Grade.
While some may think that the “extended summer break” would be seen as a positive by most students, most were quick to admit they were looking forward to school coming back into session in order to be able to see their friends again, something a lot of them had been doing less due to the pandemic.
“I was actually very excited to come back to school. Mostly for the social aspect of it, but just to see everybody and get back to normal life, and not be quarantined inside the house all day,” said Self.
“When you’re not doing it, you’d think, oh, I’d just love to have school off for that long. But it’s weird, you just have nothing to do for that long.”
While all the students were happy to see their friends again after such a long time, some of the changes make it so it isn’t exactly like it was pre-pandemic. Students are now wearing masks at all times and are more aware about the distance between them and others.
“We haven’t seen people in a long time, and you’ve just been stuck in your house for months. These are the first people you’ve seen in a long time and they’re your friends, but it’s a little weird seeing everyone behind masks and you can’t really tell who they are,” said Miller.
One of the most stark changes that the students talked about was that of temperature checks now being done at the door. Students have to wait in order to enter the building until they interact with a no-touch kiosk that checks their temperature.
“We have to get our temperature checked whenever we come to school and get a little sticker saying we scanned,” explained Self.
While temperature checks play an integral role in helping catch people with the disease before they can potentially spread it to others, Carrigan mentioned that he misses just being able to come to school and go to his class room.
“I came in before 7:50 on my own time. I would just head to homeroom and everything was fine,” said Carrigan.
On top of temperature checks, one of the other common changes mentioned was the requirement for most students to wear masks throughout the school day. The students all seemed to understand the necessity of wearing masks in order to reduce potential spread, though that isn’t to say that it won’t take some time for some to get accustomed to the change.
“The mask kind of stresses me. I have panic attacks with those. I just feel like I can’t breathe with them. I mean I know we have to wear them for our safety, but when I wear them in public it freaks me out,” said Carrigan.
One major change noted amongst the elementary students was having their grades divided up with little to no interaction. Grades were divided before, but now students aren’t able to mingle with the other half of their grade like they used to.
Fox mentioned this during her interview, but also stated that it would give her the opportunity to make new friends.
“My closest best friends are in the other class, and I’m not going to be able to play with them. But I have a lot of my friends in my class that I don’t really get to play with often, so I’m excited just to know them better and play with them a lot,” said Fox.
“I’m looking forward to being able to go back to school and see everyone really. It’s the hardest part about quarantine really.”
Miller mentioned some of the smaller changes to everyday life that most people wouldn’t think out. For instance, the casual act of sharing a pencil with a classmate in need is a thing of the past when trying to keep contact between students to a minimum. This also led to Glenbrook choosing to avoid the use of lockers this year in order to not have crowding in the hallways.
“We have to carry everything in our backpacks this year, we have to bring them with us everywhere we go. Because we have all of our books in there, and we don’t have lockers this year because of crowding in the halls,” said Miller.
While classes are for now being primarily taught traditionally in their classrooms, Self stated that they are still prepared to go back to remote learning in the case of another shutdown. “We are preparing to go back online if we have to, if another shutdown happens, but as of now, we’re doing mostly everything in person,” said Self.
When asked, all the students stated that they felt safe in Glendbrook’s reopening strategy. Even though some of the changes are inconvenient, the students seemed to understand that they are necessary.
“I think Glenbrook is doing a really good job of keeping all the students safe. We have to take the preventative measures set out by the CDC and the state, and I think we’re doing a very good job of that,” said Self.