Some faculty have chosen to return to working from inside the Wilson building

Natalie Gordon and Hannah Lahey

Picture this—a teacher at the front of the class typing fervently on their computer. Beyond them, a sea of empty desks. Although the inside of the school building was somewhat of a ghost town last spring, this is not exactly the case for the 2020-21 school year. Some staff members have decided to safely return to school to work and teach from inside the building. Sure, the fluorescent motion sensor lights might be off more than normal, as students don’t pack the hallways right now, but they do turn on once in a while for the select few faculty members walking the halls this year. 

Although this might sound contradictory to COVID-19 guidelines that are in place, administrative staff specifically tasked with coronavirus control in the school have implemented safety protocols that ensure the school is safe. “Staff must follow all CDC and local guidance before entering the building,” said Brandon Hall, Director of Strategy and Logistics. “Any staff [member] that comes into the building is socially distancing, wearing a mask, and uses hand sanitizer or washes their hands frequently.” Thompson also mentioned that Wilson has a check-in procedure in which teachers are asked health-related questions to self-assess any possible coronavirus symptoms.

Teachers who decided to transition back into school have done so for a variety of personal reasons. Some teachers have decided to go back into the building simply because there is no “virtual learning substitute” for what their job requires. Without the ability of going into the building, it wouldn’t be possible for certain staff members to do their job. “The main reason I go into the building is in case a teacher or student needs hands-on help with their computer,” said Instructional Coach for Technology, David Thompson, who has been back in the building since the very first day of school. Thompson, who helps staff and students with technology problems, wouldn’t be able to do his work if it wasn’t for the in-person option. However, it’s not just tech support staff that is working from inside the building right now—there are also a couple of Biology and World Language teachers. 

Teachers who have decided to make the transition back to working inside school have done so because they feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. Thompson says some advantages of going into the building are “the internet, central location, and the [distraction-free] atmosphere.” 

For both students and teachers, access to quality internet is vital to everyday teaching and learning. Oftentimes, household internet can only support 2 or 3 people at a time before it begins to buffer and slow down. Thompson said it’s also helpful to his kids when he goes into the school, because taking some of the strain off of the internet improves their quality of learning and keeps the internet up and running.