A day in the life of an in-person student

Leah Zerwtiz

Since school reopened at the beginning of this month, I’m sure lots of students, teachers, and community members have wondered what it’s like. The atrium was unusually quiet and the hallways desolate. The security lines, nonexistent, and the stairwells, empty. 

 At Wilson, teachers were given control over who they could invite back into the classroom and I was fortunate to be offered a spot one day a week. I am taking math in person on Tuesday mornings. 

When I was first given the opportunity to return to in-person learning, though only for one morning a week, I was hesitant. Is it worth the risk? What is the risk? What is the advantage to going in person? Ultimately I decided to accept the slot because I was desperate for a change in environment and was struggling to stay focused in my classes. I’m glad I did because I have really enjoyed it thus far.

In addition to reducing capacity, the Wilson faculty has gone above and beyond to make sure all individuals who learn and work in the building feel safe and protected.

Upon arrival, two personnel in full PPE complete temperature checks and ask everyone entering to verify that they do not feel ill nor have they been exposed to COVID-19 in the last two weeks. After completing a COVID screening, students are signaled to go through security. Once through security, students are asked to apply hand sanitizer and sit socially distanced in the atrium until being dismissed to class. 

All over the building, including stairwells and hallways, there are signs reminding students and staff to stay six feet apart and keep masks on at all times to stop the spread of the virus. Additionally, there are floor markers in the hallway to ensure individuals maintain their distance while walking to and from class. 

In the classrooms, desks are spaced six feet apart and a large hand sanitizer is distributed to each room. Also, classroom doors stayed open throughout the day for increased airflow. In my classroom there were eight kids who signed up to learn in person and there was no issue staying distant from each other. 

Another notable change made to accommodate in-person students was a new bathroom policy. Only three people are allowed in the bathroom at one time. When one person goes in they are instructed to hit a button that lights up. If all three buttons are lit up, students and staff must wait until someone exits the bathroom. 

Overall, I would say that it was a very safe experience. Everyone I encountered wore their masks properly and stayed distant from others and the Wilson staff did an excellent job preparing for hybrid learning. 

Being in the building is very odd because it feels very empty (kinda like you missed the memo on a no school day or something) because the social aspects of school are very different. There isn’t an opportunity to see your friends in the halls or engage in other social interaction. 

I’m not sure if the quality of learning is higher because the teachers have to simultaneously teach the kids in person and online, but it is definitely a nice change and good to be back in the building.