A Unique Year

Separated but United

Christopher Afonso, Staff Writer

This year has been a very unique year for all students and staff at BC High. New protocols, designed to ensure continued learning and safety on campus in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, have proved to be frustrating at times. Though the new protocols and systems may seem to be a hindrance to learning at first, they have proved only as small obstacles that the community has overcome and adapted to effectively. New customs on campus include masks, social distancing, zooming in and out of school, and wiping desks and plexiglass at lunch, which have greatly affected the first few weeks of incoming freshmen. These new protocols have made it more difficult for new students to get used to life at BC High. Plexiglass at lunch tables poses a challenge in making new friendships. Although the glass keeps students at a safe distance while their masks are off, it makes it difficult to converse with peers and possible friends. This isn’t true just for freshmen, but for all students.

Unlike plexiglass or social distancing, most of the new protocols do not create many additional complications. Take, for example, wiping desks and masks. After each class students are required to clean their desks with a disinfectant wipe. This new habit is easy to remember and is a very simple task. Wiping desks may stay around even after COVID-19, as it is a great way to prevent germs from being passed from student to student. Masks are also a simple addition to school routine that demands little effort from students.

Of course, this is not to say the new protocols have no downsides. Especially for freshmen, masks can make it difficult for them to recognize newly made friends and teachers because they can only see a third of their face. Making friends is even harder because the division between cohorts forms a split in the student body; many freshmen have only met the other half of their cohort on orientation. Talking with new students in your class should be natural, but online learning has altered this dynamic. It’s awkward to get a good introduction to anyone over Zoom, so until COVID-19 is resolved, it will be challenging for the freshman class to engage with their peers.

Freshmen must learn a new system at home, but must also coordinate it with their on-campus learning because they are greatly different. When on campus the schedule changes as do extracurricular activities.The new technology in the school that enables students to learn online has been innovative and helpful, but it has bumps in it. Difficulties with it have, through tremendous effort and patience, been smoothed out to create an effective learning environment. Teachers have been great in learning the technology in such a short time, but for students and teachers alike, keeping track of their online and on-campus work has been the greatest challenge. Some assignments must be submitted through Canvas while others are checked in class. This distinction can make organization difficult, yet it is not all negative. Being forced to organize so much more information will help students learn faster in the future; they will be encouraged to be more efficient and effective.

It is the most unique year of BC High history, never before has the school been divided and separated, but BC High is still open and more united than ever. The pandemic and all its hardships have not ruined BC High, it has proved an important point: together we can make anything possible. Though numbers rise and schools close, BC High still has its doors open and is a safe place for the entire community, and plans to for as long as safely possible.