East Lansing High School students shared their accounts of the school’s efforts to return to normalcy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Recently, students have been allowed access to their lockers again. The lockers were closed to promote social distancing.
“We haven’t had lockers for about two months,” said student David Benda. The lockers reopened “about a week ago.”
Benda said, “It has affected student life by clogging the hallways and preventing students from storing bags and textbooks. The weird thing is that neither having or not having lockers helps social distancing because students naturally group by lockers when they are available and group in hallways when they aren’t.”
Additionally, the lunch system at East Lansing High School has been remodeled so students can eat together at a safe distance.
Student EmmaRae Vanderbush said, “We have outside and inside seating. Students can choose where they sit but if they sit inside they must scan the QR code at their numbered table, and fill out general information for contract tracing. Outside we don’t have restrictions at all, but inside the tables have clear, plastic shields covering every seat at the table. Our security guards also regulate the traffic through the doorways, assigning students to their proper door.”
Lunch schedules challenge school, students
There are new restrictions regarding food.
Student Kalkidan Tadese said, “We are not allowed to eat in class because of the COVID thing.”
The new lunch system has been an adjustment that not all students favor. Benda said, “There are restrictions on the lunchroom, which makes us have three lunch periods and a confusing schedule,” said Benda.
Benda said, “The bells throw off everyone in the school, even though they have different tones. On top of this, one of the lunch periods interrupts some students’ fourth hour for lunch halfway through, only to make them return to that same hour and continue the lesson. It can cause some students to get lost or forget what the lesson was about.”
There is little hope among students that school will return to pre-pandemic conditions soon.
Vanderbush said, “Unfortunately we haven’t made enough progress to lift restrictions. Our high school is very strict about COVID rules.”
Benda said, “Not to be a nihilist or anything like that, but there’s no way things will ever go back to the way they were. COVID will stick around a long time, and so the school will try to prevent the spread for as long as they can until eventually, people build immunities to the disease through exposure. At that point, social distancing and masks will be a thing of the past. However, I have a feeling that people might wear masks even past the pandemic.”
Homecoming made a welcome return
Despite these concerns, there’s still a lot of things the students of East Lansing High School are grateful for, including homecoming.
Student Elias Kramer said, “Our school has given us a homecoming. The seniors last year didn’t get one so for our school to give the class of ’22 one was very special and showed that they cared for us.”
According to Kramer, the homecoming dance was outdoors on the football field. Though this is different from previous years, many homecoming traditions remained the same.
“We did have the parade which consisted of any clubs and sports teams that wanted to be in it,” said Kramer. “I was also on the court which was really nice. For the court members, we got to ride in convertibles and throw out candy. There were 21 of us and we were representing East Lansing as top students. Although there wasn’t a mask mandate outdoors, many people still chose to wear one.”