Navigating Changed Hallways

Madalyn Cottrell, MVcurrent Writer

Starting March 13th, 2020, a state-wide school shut down classes resulted in Mt. Vernon going completely virtual. Though, as of August 17th, Mt. Vernon has been able to reopen its buildings to staff and students returning for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 forced many schools across America to close their buildings and pursue online options to continue the school year. Now, schools are finally back in session. Not all have been able to reopen their doors.  Some have decided to completely reopen, and the MVCSC school corporation is fortunate enough to be able to host students. 

School was originally supposed to start July 31st, but Mt. Vernon pushed back the starting date for school to August 17th. Originally, school was supposed to open and welcome back all students. But a poll was sent out offering different options for a back to school schedule. Against the differing options, MV families predominantly voted for a hybrid schedule, and this schedule has become the new normal, at least for the first semester. 

Only half of the student body will be present per school day, and the other half will do all of their work online. Separated by last names, A-J attend one day while K-Z attend the following day, flip flopping every other day between physical attendance and virtual learning. Some students have also decided to go completely virtual. There are some exceptions, though. Some students in AP classes attend class on days different from the group they were originally placed in. For example, a student in AP Lang with a last name that starts with “R” would attend class in group A. This makes it easier for the class as their entire course is not completely online. 

Not all students favor the changes that have been made for social reasons, but understand that things have to be different in order for students to safely be in a physical learning environment. Lunches are different, and many students do not encounter any of their friends on a school day. 

“It sucks to have to be away from a lot of my friends,” said Natalie Marchal, 10. “I don’t see a lot of the friends I’ve been separated from for months, but I understand things have to be different in order for us to remain in school safely.”

Masks have become a requirement for students and staff, but depending on the teacher, students are allowed to remove their masks in classrooms where they can be at a distance of 3 feet. Some teachers allow their students to remove their masks in certain situations, but most are enforcing and encouraging students to keep their masks on all day. Many teachers are understanding of the fact that wearing a mask all day can be difficult for some, and have also expressed to their students the ability to take a few moments in the hallway or outside if the mask becomes restricting. 

“The mask policy is going to be one of the best ways we can keep the school open in person as long as possible,” said Jessica Evans, an art teacher at Mt. Vernon.

The school year at Mt. Vernon is going to be different than most have expected, but as long as students and staff abide by the rules and stay safe, then hopefully things can remain as normal as possible.