We at MCC consider ourselves fortunate to be able to start the school year with all of our students back in the building. While this is certainly not the case with every district, due to the large square footage of our building and our relatively smaller student population we are able to have everyone back under the state’s requirements for operating in the Hybrid Model. Little did we know that March 16 would be our last day in the building until now, but this is truly a time to celebrate. It has taken a lot of work and modifications to get everyone back, but seeing students in the hallways again makes it all worth it. We know that things won’t look the same as before, and that we have a new sense of normal, but at least we can all be together.
The biggest change everyone is already aware of is that we are required to wear masks in school and maintain social distancing of 6ft from one another. While this has been an adjustment for students and staff, everyone seems to be handling it pretty well. There are a few times when masks may be removed- after students get their food and sit down to eat, at certain times during phy. ed class when exercising or doing strenuous physical activity that makes wearing a mask difficult, and during band.
The morning routine also looks very different from years past. At the beginning of each day parents need to conduct a daily screening of their child for COVID and have them stay home if they are not feeling well. If a student rides the bus to school, they need to wear their mask on the bus at all times. Doors open at both West and Central at 7:45am for students to enter the building. When students come into the school they need to go to their locker to gather/drop off their things and then go wash or sanitize their hands. After this, they can grab breakfast or report directly to their first block class. Students are not permitted to hang out in the hallways before class this year. New also for this year is that students may bring their backpacks to their classes. This should help to reduce the passing time transition as well as prevent congregating at lockers.
Another change is that our lunch periods are split this year. Some students are eating in the Lunchroom and others in the Commons. Where students eat is based on the classes they are in for 3rd block. Daily schedules are posted around the building to determine the location in which students are to eat. Students need to bring their own water bottles this year as only the water filling stations will be able to be used for drinking and not the fountains. Murray County Central has purchased one water bottle for every student.
Passing times between classes and dismissal at the end of the day are staggered. Students still have 5 minutes between classes but JH, 9&10, and 11&12 are dismissed separately from each block and at the end of the day. The purpose of this is to minimize the intermingling of different grade level groups as much as possible.
Hand washing/sanitizing breaks are emphasized and prioritized. Students need to wash or sanitize their hands each day before school, before and after lunch, and at the end of the school day. This is an easy and very important way to help prevent the spread of germs and keep students from getting sick.
I know this is a lot of new information and a lot to remember. Rest assured that we will be here to help remind everyone of the new things we need to do. I just keep focusing on the fact that we all get to be back together in school. It would be easy during times like these to focus on the negatives- mask wearing, distancing, things that are different or things we can’t do like we used to. I want to encourage everyone to think about the blessings we do have and positive things we get to do in spite of COVID. We are together, learning in person, talking with friends, able to look each other in the eye instead of through a computer screen. It takes a strong character to choose to focus on the positives- but I want to challenge everyone to do just that as we wade through this next year. It will not be easy- I think we all know this, but we need to make the most of every day. No one knows what tomorrow will hold so make the most of today. The words of Theodore Roosevelt ring true especially during these difficult times: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Jake Scandrett- MCC High School Principal