Having a better grasp on the pandemic, Belvidere High School has returned to hosting the student body in person in the physical school, as opposed to earlier methods of online and hybrid learning.
Generally, the return to somewhat normalcy has seemed to be a great morale booster for both staff and students.
“When I first heard the news, I was happy that I would be able to see everyone, and have in-person classes,” said senior Mikey Loeding. “I used to get bored looking at the computer screen, and now that we’re back, things are much better.”
The overall feeling – while overwhelmingly positive – also does not come without its concerns.
“Reminders of safety protocols are the biggest thing, to staff, students, and parents,” said BHS Principal Billy Lewis. “We have to all keep doing our best to stay within recommended guidelines, including distancing and staying home when ill, and executing on that will go a long way.”
Such safety protocols include wearing masks at all times, except for during lunch, social distancing in the classroom, quarantining after coming in close contact with COVID symptomatic students, and cleaning down the classrooms after school,
The administration has also implemented a third lunch period to reduce mass gatherings in the cafeteria. It takes place in the 5B slot, which means some students are going to their 5A class, to lunch, and then back to the same class for period 5C.
“I am confident in our staff and students to be successful,” Lewis said. “(However), it takes time, good communication, and patience by all to ensure a good transition back.”
In an email to parents from District 100 Supt. Daniel Woestman, 215 students from the middle schools and high schools have been quarantined within the first two weeks of the school year. But while those statistics may seem grim, only 12% of those 215 students ended up testing positive for COVID, while the other 88% were quarantined due to coming in close contact with COVID positive students.
“I’m really not too worried about it,” Loeding said. “If we all follow the protocol guidelines, I think we’ll be good.”
For many, words cannot express the importance of coming back to the physical building as opposed to remote schooling.
Loeding, along with others, does not enjoy all of the new norms, like having to wear masks. But at the end of the day, students remain grateful for the return to campus.