Second First Day


Halley Guardado

Starting September 8, students returned to in-person learning at Lake Ridge.

Wiping down desks after the end of each class, wearing masks at all times, and sanitizing hands often. Since returning to in-person school sessions, there are many different safety precautions that both students and teachers have to abide by to stay safe and healthy. Moving forward for the rest of the year, students and teachers will have to adjust to these safety precautions and make them new social norms.

In the classroom, students are used to sitting in seating arrangements that are relatively close to one another. However, seating charts were created before the students came back to school and all the desks are as far away from each other as possible. Students are also used to leaving the desk the way it is whenever they leave the classroom, but before class ends, students now have to disinfect and wipe down the desks and chairs for the next class. For Junior, Ella Hernandez, these safety precautions are necessary, and something she has to get accustomed to.

“The safety procedures don’t bother me because I realize how important safety is and how we need to prevent catching the virus, but this is definitely weird and makes school feel like a task. I adapted to wearing a mask pretty quickly, but some things like social distancing and traffic control in the halls are taking me time to get used to,” stated Hernandez.

Not only do the students have to follow the precautions given in the classroom, but so do teachers. Teachers and staff have to wear masks at all times and sanitize their surroundings after every class just like the students. For some teachers, these precautions may be a burden to their teaching, but they know the importance of the safety of their students and themselves. As for English teacher, Lisa Cole, the procedures that need to be followed may make her job a little more difficult, but she knows it’s for the better.

“We have to wear a mask at all times, which is difficult when you’re talking for an hour. However, we are in a pandemic, so I think these precautions are very important, in order to stem the tide and hopefully eradicate it. And if not eradicate it, then keep it very low until an immunization is invented,” said Cole.

These safety precautions are not only limited to the classroom, they also extend to other parts of the school such as, the cafeteria, the hallways, and even the staircases. The cafeteria is known to be a place in the school where students are able to converse and eat with their friends, however that has changed drastically. Students used to be able to sit wherever they wanted and the lunch lines went from overcrowded to students standing six feet apart. Additionally, there are now barriers on the table to prevent as much physical contact as possible. For junior, Mercy Nyakundi, these lunch procedures have taken a toll on her social life in school.

“The glass barrier makes it very awkward, especially when you are trying to communicate with your friend and you have to repeat yourselves over and over. So, I’m not very fond of it,” said Nyakudi.

For some students, their favorite part of school is the social aspect and being able to have a conversation with friends. For Senior, Matilda Nwanna, the safety precautions make it hard for her to speak to her friends like she once did before COVID-19, but she does understand why the precautions need to be followed.

“The safety precautions affect my social life because I am not able to interact with a lot of people at once and we have to be at least six feet apart. For example, the dividers at the lunch tables and the masks make it difficult to talk to my friends. However, I would not change anything because the precautions are there for a reason and it’s to slow the spread of the virus in order for us to go back to normal,” said Nwanna.

Even the bathroom didn’t escape the new safety procedures. There are now less stalls and also a limit of how many people can use at a time. This can be an inconvenience to some students will have to wait if the bathroom limit is full. For junior, Princess Paige, some safety precautions regarding the bathrooms are very convenient, whilst others are not.

“The new bathroom safety precautions are very convenient for me, because even though there are less stalls in use, the bathrooms are never crowded. However, I think there should be at least four people allowed in the bathrooms, two people for the sinks and two people for the stalls,” said Paige.

Though the new safety precautions and procedures can take some time to get adjusted to, most students and teachers are grateful to be back to in-person learning.