Looking forward to returning to school

Miramonte prepares for hybrid return of studenets


Jpohn Grigsby

Signs indicating the maximum occupancy of a classroom, the checklist of neces- sary safety features in the classroom, and the reminder to wear face coverings and properly social distance on campus are required to be on all classroom doors.

You’re walking through the halls, finally, back at school. The familiar chatter of kids and the scuffle of shoes echo in the background as you make your way to the quad for lunch, but something is different. Following the trail of students in a one-way hallway, your feet pass over painted yellow arrows directing you where to go. You look at the faces around you hidden by masks, and a standard six feet separates everybody. Colorful signs encouraging hand washing, cleanliness, masks, and social distancing catch your eye.

 When it reopens for regular classes, Miramonte High School will look much different than it did that final Thursday in the middle of March.

In addition to the schedule changes and reduced capacity, the campus has physical changes. Hallway floors are painted with yellow arrows indicating what direction students have to go. There are frequent reminders and posters around campus to wear a proper mask and maintain a six-foot distance from others, and desks are now much more spread out.

“Classrooms will be smaller depending on the size of the room. Some rooms may have 12 students; others may have 16. Lunch will be different — everyone will have to be six-feet apart when eating lunch. Everything will be different. Locker rooms will be closed, restrooms will be monitored, there are yellow arrows painted on the ground pointing in the direction you have to follow. Masks have to be worn, hands washed, and keeping a safe distance will be the new normal,” Miramonte custodian Edmond Woo said.

“Lunch and Academy will be in-person and will be staggered. Half of the in-person students will be assigned to ‘Academy 1’ and ‘Lynch 2’ while the other half of the students will be assigned to ‘Lunch 1’ and ‘Academy 2’,” Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Aida Glimme said in a district-wide email.

On the door of every classroom is a checklist that indicates the classroom has been inspected and meets the required safety components, including sanitizing dispensers and stations, plexiglass on the teacher’s desk, a decal showing the room capacity, and marks where desks should go to ensure they are properly spaced. The classroom also must include signage showing directional arrows, distance, occupancy, and a reminder to practice social distancing and wear a proper mask.

“I think that the spaced out classroom will be great and they will help encourage social distancing inside the classroom. These changes are good so students can go back to school safely,” sophomore Paige Meyers said.

As you walk through the halls with the yellow arrows and follow the students who are six feet away with masks over their noses and mouths, you see your friends. They are walking into a classroom with 12 desks and each taking some hand sanitizer and they set down their backpacks, the only indication of their smiles in the crinkle of their eyes over the folds of their masks. You are reminded by the friendly faces that while Mira- monte looks different, in many ways it remains the same.