If someone had told me two years ago, during my freshmen year, that COVID-19 would keep me from school and life for the next couple of years, and still be plaguing us even after all that, I would have laughed. But that’s where we are and the decision CPS made to go back to in-person school this year means we’ve had to make some… unique adjustments in the classroom to best combat the spread of COVID.
To be honest, as a student attending a Chicago public school, every “precaution” put into place seems pretty useless. This is not to say I would have preferred to continue with online classes; it had its own downfalls on me and my personal education. But it seems like CPS officials forgot there was a reason for the precautions–it’s called a pandemic, which is not slowing down its spread. I just don’t see the logic in putting hundreds of people back into close quarters with each other. It seems like we’re begging for more unnecessary COVID cases.
I don’t want to be too harsh on Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS; they didn’t just throw us to the sharks after all. I don’t know about other Chicago schools, but there have been some procedures put into place at my own school. For one, we have no lockers. I mean we have them, on every floor in fact, but we can’t use them (Don’t ask me why. I don’t get what that has to do with COVID either.). The school now has assigned air ventilators in every room as well as the air condition running almost all day for air circulation. Personally, I’ve taken to bringing sweaters to school. There is also the common place mask mandate and 6-feet apart rule. You can probably imagine how hard it is to actually be 6 feet apart in crowded hallways during passing periods and how many people actually keep their mask on all day. We also have a sick room of sorts where students are supposed to go wait if they start showing signs of the virus. Lastly, we have contact tracing.
Despite these efforts, more and more cases are starting to pop up in the school’s population. It’s getting a little concerning for both me and the people I live with, especially since my mother is someone who is susceptible to harsher symptoms of COVID.
I want to do everything in my power to stay safe and keep everyone who is around me safe. Right now, school is making that a little challenging. Overall it’s been a weird few weeks. It’ll probably be weird next year too, but I’m getting used to these changes despite how useless they feel at the moment.
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, go ahead and make that move and do it. To keep yourself and others safe from COVID, don’t forget to wear your mask and wash your hands frequently.
By Kendal Amos, Junior, Chi Arts