While there seems to be no end in sight to the COVID-19 Pandemic, you may find yourself wondering how local teenagers have been handling high school during these trying times. It seems all is well at Charlton County High School, and overall, everyone is adjusting fine.
Jordan Vernon, a junior at CCHS, is a cheerleader and says practices are very spaced out. In situations where you can’t social distance such as stunting, Vernon says her coaches require them to wear masks.
“I use Lysol, I stay hydrated, sanitize, and I wear a mask most of the time,” said Vernon, “At lunch, we have to wear gloves when using the microwave and teachers always remind us not to crowd together.”
The school’s faculty is especially conscience of making sure students follow the rules.
“Coach Marchman is on it,” she laughed, “He always makes sure that students are socially distancing.”
Teachers also make sure the students are on top of sanitation. They keep their pupils safe.
“Teachers squirt sanitizer into students’ hands before they enter the classroom and they wipe down the computers after each use,” Vernon shared. “Some students are careless, but for the most part, we are very compliant.”
Kaylah Garard is also a student athlete who plays basketball.
“Students should stop drinking and eating after one another; that is very careless,” Garard explained, “The water fountains are turned off, but sometimes students still crowd in the commons area and students are disciplined if they refuse to use sanitizer.”
As for following physical distancing guidelines, the school has placed X’s for where students can or cannot sit or stand in the lunchroom as well as the in the gym stands.
Data Clerk Ashley Richard is located in the guidance hall, a place where students go for help. The changes in conduct have been a big adjustment for Richards.
“I have to think about personal and professional interactions like never before. I wear a mask during meetings with staff, students, and parents,” she said, “I don’t shake hands anymore. I love giving hugs but I cant.”
In smaller schools like Charlton High, students are close to their educators; so keeping a distance has been trying.
“It’s taking some time to get used to this new normal. However, if this is what I need to do to help lower the chance of exposing myself or someone else, then so be it,” she stated, “Last year I would have never thought twice about high-fiving or hugging a student. Now, I’m hyper-aware of any interaction with students, staff, parents, etc. The candy dish on my desk, which was always a student favorite, is now removed and that hurts my heart a little.”
The school continues to work hard on providing staff with hand sanitizer, cleaning products, and more to help make the transition to these new rules as smooth as possible.
“Overall, so many things have changed but every faculty member that I’ve come across, as been more than willing to do whatever they can to make the students feel as comfortable and safe as possible. We’re just happy to have our kids back in the building.”
Science teacher Tracey Willis is a stickler for following COVID-19 guidlines.
“As a teacher with underlying health issues, coming back to school did concern me, however we are taking precautions and I do feel safe in our building.”
To protect herself and her students, Willis wears a mask everyday and makes sure she cleans any germs students may leave behind. Teachers also have their temperatures checked each morning at check in.
“One major change is an assigned seating chart for each block. It makes it easier for us to track exposure,” she explained, “We also wipe down desks and door handles between each class and use hand sanitizer more than I have ever done. Despite all these changes our kids aren’t complaining and they are doing what we’ve asked.”
Another faculty member who takes safety measures incredibly serious is school nurse Breanna Knowles.
Knowles said, “With my job I was very safe and cautious anyway,” she said, “I hope this pandemic will teach our students to become wiser and healthier individuals.”
Knowles said along with herself, many students are practicing social distance, wearing masks, and washing their hands frequently.
Principal Danny McCoy stated, “A limited amount of students are allowed into their first block classroom before the bell rings, the lunch room and commons area are constantly being socially distanced. We are fortunate to have open-air hallways and a commons area.”
It isn’t just around classes when these precautions are being made, but during the lunch hour as well.
“The lunch number has been brought down to 100 students per lunch,” he stated.
For students who have to be quarantined, Google Meets is used in order to connect with the teachers so they don’t fall behind in class. These students are also encouraged to use USA Test Prep, Study Island, and Read 180.
“We are having school day by day,” he stated, If we had to go to online learning, it would be an easy switch.”
McCoy is confident each situation has a plan so no matter what comes so students still receive the best possible education. While students, staff and parents are happy to have school back in session, sacrifices have had to be made.
“We don’t have club days anymore, there wasn’t a pep rally for the opening football game, and sports teams are taking extra precautions,” he shared.
While plans are in place, McCoy and his team will continue up with any changes set by the powers that be.
He said, “I am keeping up with the CDC and all the updates, and I’m also keeping up with the department of public health and GHSA updates.”
Any information regarding school news can be found at Charlton.k12.ga.us.