By the time this column is published, the halls of the high school, middle school, and elementary school will be empty. Students have gone home and won’t return until Sept. 1. Finals are over, grades have closed.
It’s been a hectic year, to say the least. We switched learning models, schedules, and classes, following CDC, DESE, and state guidelines to the letter as we navigated a pandemic that took its toll on all of us.
All the signs seem to be pointing toward a complete return to normalcy for next year. We likely won’t need to wear masks or social distance inside or out, and all our students will be together again. Hopefully, come September, we’ll abandon our masks and sit as close together as we want in the cafeteria.
While it’s tempting to shed all the remnants of a COVID-19-filled year and a half, we’ve learned a lot from this past year, lessons we shouldn’t be so quick to forget.
For one, we had one of our best flu seasons in years because students stayed home when they were sick. A more flexible number of absences for high school students in the future could make a gentle flu season more common because with limited absences students tend to come to school even when sick.
During this strange year, we also came up with new activities that should become traditions – like the wildly successful holiday door-decorating contest and voting on who has the best Halloween costume. These activities brought excitement and energy to the school and could do so again.
On the other hand, limited bathroom occupancy should be one of the first things to go. It was understandably necessary for this year, but let’s avoid it next year – for obvious reasons.
Additionally, it may be a good idea to clean surfaces more often than in past years, just perhaps not as excessively as we did this year. For instance, spraying desks at the beginning and end of the day, instead at the beginning and end of the class.
The list of practices to continue and practices to end goes on. But what truly matters is thoughtfully identifying what worked and what didn’t, and what we should carry over to next year.
But for now, summer is here. Students are moving on, whether to a summer job, camp, or just their summer reading list. So, we’ll see you in the fall.
And thank you to Principal Nosek, Superintendent Kuehn, Ben Olivieri, Nolan Tiani, Grace Grosso, Sasha Green, Ruby Shultz, and all the teachers at Hull High School, without whose continual support this column would not have been possible.
Victoria Dolan is school correspondent for The Hull Times.