Students adapt to ever-changing school days and new precautions

The first day of school, class pictures included rows of masked students. The opening assembly was done with only one grade at a time. Students can only sit three to a table at lunch and alternate between having lunch in the cafeteria or in their fourth hour classroom. 

   The start of the 2020 school year looked quite different than in the past. Traditions have changed. These traditions may seem small, but mean the world to these high school students. that will never get these experiences back. 

    Senior composites cannot be taken in the normal suit and gown like in the past, students will instead be taking their senior composites in their graduation gowns. This is just one example of the many traditions that have suddenly been ripped away from the seniors. Unfortunately, there is no next year or redo for these soon to be graduates and adapting to the new regulations with optimism and hope is the most anyone can ask for. 

  “Although it may not be the most ideal senior year, it could always be worse, I’m just glad we’re able to be at school,” senior Joe Montez said.

   2020 Homecoming has been canceled and rescheduled multiple times. As it stands, Homecoming will be held on October 16 against Skyline. This is one of the many events that have been postponed or canceled thus far. Students are having a difficult time adjusting to the -what seems like- never-ending rescheduling. 

   “Nothing is the same, it all feels like walking on eggshells. It feels like once you get excited for something, you have to be extremely careful, because it’s most likely going to be ripped away,” senior Haley Dwyer said. 

   Students in quarantine or isolation hit a school-year high the week of Sept. 22 with over 40.

The administration and teachers feel for these students and feel the same in regards to wanting everything to go back to normal as soon as possible. There have been many changes already throughout the school year, but one of the biggest so far has been the hybrid schedule.

   The hybrid schedule was implemented on the week of Sept. 28. This schedule entailed half of the student body attending two days of the week, and the other half, attended the other two days of the week. This was split up by last name alphabetically. The schedule was only for a week.

   Principal Danny Morison, is aware of the struggles that came along with the abrupt schedule change for the students, but says it was necessary for keeping school still in session. Morrison said that, although the school year is not ideal, he is very proud of the student body and their attitudes so far this year. 

   “The largest change to date was the hybrid schedule. I feel our students are adapting well to the changes and have been very appreciative that we are still in session,” Morrison said. 

   A reentry plan was set in place at the beginning of the school year to outline the precautions that are being taken. It was divided up into three sections, there is a green, yellow and red level with safety protocols of varying degrees, from very moderate restrictions in the green level to total distance learning in level red. Although the school is abiding by this plan, the Benton County Health Department and local officials serve as guides for district decision making.

   “What this means is, the district will take into consideration all of the information, including information from the health department, online resources, and actual district-level data, then make the decision as to which of the three levels the district will be in.  Based on all of the information at the district’s disposal, the district has determined that it is better to remain in the yellow than to drop to green or escalate to red.  If the district makes either of those moves, it will follow the protocols listed for those levels,” Morrison said.

   Initially, when school started on August 25, Warsaw was in the yellow zone on the COVID Risk Levels Dashboard and classes started on level yellow, meaning that students will attend class in person daily but are required to always wear a mask and try to abide by social distancing protocol at all times. As of now, Benton County is in the red zone based on the COVID Risk Levels Dashboard. But again, the school will not take these actions until the health department advises to do so. 

   The last thing teachers and administration wants for students, is added stress. But with constant risks of cancellations, stress among students is high.

   “The thing I truly dislike is how easy the spread of misinformation is with the changing schedules. None of the students know what’s really going on, and when events do get changed, that just adds stress to an already difficult situation,” senior Gabby Porter said.