In-Person Checkin

In-Person+Checkin

Lillian Arnold, Feature Editor/Assistant Sports Editor

More than three weeks have passed since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, which means that the period in which all students were required to participate in at-home learning has come to an end. However, what does coming back to school in-person mean for students who have chosen to do so? Many well-founded concerns arose in the past three weeks about how Allen ISD is going to conduct its schooling safely with the ever-looming pandemic.  

But now there are students back in the building. And here are just some of the ways that AHS is ensuring its students are set up for a safe, virus-free school year, as well as some student reactions to the new policies.

“It can sometimes be crazy with what’s going on but it’s nice to be back with friends,” sophomore Logan Powers said about their return to Allen High School. 

Students who have already returned may have noticed that there is a lot of new signage posted above hallways, stairwells and outside of certain areas. Some of these signs are reminding students of ways they can “stop the spread,” and others are dictating which hallways and stairwells are “one-way” toprevent students from bunching together.

“The one-way hallways are very difficult to make it to class on time,” junior Shelby Heisler said. “I’m literally sprinting.”

This is the same for stairways, with some being only up and others only down, with only the more spacious stairwells being two-way. These regulations have had mixed reactions, some students saying they don’t mind the new rules and others expressing irritation because the route to their classes has become longer or more complex.

Along with the hallways being regulated, the lunch system has also changed. There is still A, B, C and D lunch, however students now have assigned eating areas based on capacity and social distancing limits. Students have been split according to the location of their third or sixth period classes to either eat in the PAC commons, or the cafeteria. Tables in the PAC have a limit of two students each. Meanwhile in the cafeteria, there are stickers on the tables that indicate spots where students may sit six feet apart. In an attempt to spread students out further, all lunch lines offer the same menu, and there are now lines available in the PAC where students eating there can buy their lunches.

“I don’t like that we have to sit six feet apart at lunch,” junior Mary Onken said “The masks are fine though, they don’t bother me.” 

Masks and/or face shields are required for all students to wear over their mouth and nose. They are checked at the door along with ID’s, and any student without a mask will be provided one. Masks are not required during lunch unless a student plans to stand up and move around.

Classroom procedures have changed as well. Hand sanitizer stations have been installed by every single classroom door, and students are strongly encouraged to “foam in and foam out” every time they enter or exit a room. Seating charts have been arranged to space students out, and after every class period teachers are required to sanitize every desk.

“Despite the amount of people in some of my classes, it’s a lot easier to understand and apply the material while in-person. Passing periods are stressful, but hopefully once I get used to going to my classes it will be easier to navigate,” junior Claudia Bieneik said regarding her choice to move to in-person.

On top of all the sanitizing teachers are doing throughout the day, the janitorial team will also be cracking down after all students have gone home, using electrostatic spraying technology to coat all surfaces with Virex®. This sprayer generates charged droplets that repel one another and actively seek out environmental surfaces, which they stick to and even wrap around to coat all sides.

But even with all these precautions, is it truly safe to come back? That seems to be up to students and parents to decide. Some students have chosen to return because they need the structure and interaction that in-person school provides.

“I don’t like having to go only certain ways in the hallways, but I like how safe they are being,” sophomore Olivia Guthrie said.

Allowing students back in the building was a big step towards attempted normalcy. Even though there are mixed feelings from students, teachers and parents as to whether this is safe, there is no doubt that many students are happy to be walking the halls of AHS once again. 

“The school year is going okay, but everything is different,” junior Dimah Guthrie said. “I’m hoping it’s for the better and keeps everyone safe.”