How the Students’ Feel About the School’s CoronaVirus Policies

How+the+Students%27+Feel+About+the+School%27s+CoronaVirus+Policies

Brady Longwell, Writing Connoisseur

Ever since Covid-19 swept across the world, schools like Hampton High School have been looking for ways to get students back in classes using masks, desk shields, and table dividers. But how do students feel about what the school is doing? What are their thoughts on the several things they now have to do in this new hybrid school system? I sought to answer that question.

In March, the Hampton school system canceled school classes for safety reasons and began to teach online. Since then, they developed a new system with policies to be put in place when the students came back in August. These included mandatory masks in school, desk shields to put up should your teacher ask, forced social distancing through seating arrangements and dividers at lunch, and temperature checks from teachers. And finally, the biggest change of all is the hybrid learning system itself, where not every student is there every day of the week.

I’ve asked several students that go to Hampton High School about their opinions on this matter and how they felt about the schools way of doing things, and got a few varied responses. Taking a look at the masks first, not many students I’ve talked to had much of a problem with them. All of them understood the necessity of wearing masks, like student Gabe Jakovlic who remarked, “I feel as though forcing kids to get their temperature taken and wearing masks/face shields really makes all the difference in keeping people safe.” Like Gabe, many students understand why they are so important, and while some have a few mild annoyances wearing them, the student body seems to be in agreement with the school on the importance of wearing masks for safety reasons. And the school has even implemented a 10-minute “Mask Break” system in classes as long as you have a desk shield up. 

As for the table dividers at lunch, there are grievances. Once again, many understand the importance and necessity of them, but some students are annoyed that they can’t hear their friends at lunch through them. However, the school has implemented a new policy during lunch that solves the issue, and many students seem to be very happy about it. “I really like how they allow us to go outside,” junior Adam Cerrone says, “instead of trying to maneuver us all into the cafeteria.” However, other students have shown discomfort for some students’ behavior of walking around the cafeteria without masks on, as stated by student Ben Mikus, “At many times, students just walk around without masks on, and nothing is done about that”. However, these grievances seem minor, and increased supervision during lunch periods could address them. As it stands, the students seem to have very few problems with the dividers and with the new lunch system and policies.

While many students were okay with, and even liked, some policies the school has implemented, many of them have shown a dislike for the desk shields that have been provided for the students. While some have understood the idea, others have expressed a dislike for the shields and how some teachers use them. Jakovlic explains: “They scratch, smudge up, and break so easily,” as well as, “They are way too small for any desk in the school. I can’t fit a piece of paper and my laptop inside one of them, which is incredibly frustrating and inconvenient.” As Gabe had said, there are certain problems with the shields which can certainly frustrate students. While the desk shields were a good idea by the school, some students feel as though they weren’t implemented well, and likely need to be changed in some manner. I myself have heard more than a few complaints about them, and have had a few myself. However, they seem to be required, so the student body may just have to deal with it until Covid-19 is no longer an issue.

Finally, there’s the students’ reaction to the hybrid learning plan itself, where students are split into Pod A and Pod B groups who go into school during different days and stay home and learn through Zoom on others. To reach a larger audience with this question than the people I interviewed, I created a poll on the Hamptonian Twitter account which showed that 11% of students like the program, 28% think it’s fine, 26% aren’t too thrilled about it, and 35% hate the hybrid system. While it seems a majority of students don’t like the new system, it’s more likely that they’d prefer being in school for a full week, rather than hating the system itself. While everyone at HHS likely knows exactly why the school needs to implement this new system, it seems like they wish it wasn’t necessary and would like a vaccine to be created quickly so that everything can go back to normal. 

In conclusion, while some students have felt the school stumbled a bit with some of its policies, the majority feel like the school has done a good job to get them back into classes while keeping them safe, and students trust HHS with whatever may be necessary in the future.