New procedures allow students to return to school

Hannah Fiume, Social Media Editor

Tallmadge City Schools has implemented many new procedures this year to prevent any outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Some of these changes include temperature scans for all staff and students upon entering the building, social distance classrooms and new cleaning protocol (see additional list below).

The list does not even include all transportation and athletics prevention measures. While the school district has taken almost any step possible against the virus, the future is still unclear. 

“It’s honestly hard to tell [how long these measures will last]. I think there are many different factors that need to be considered when answering that include state and local numbers, possible vaccination, and most importantly how our school community handles the protocols put in place. We can only try and control the behaviors in the building but if everyone leaves each evening and doesn’t social distance or wear a mask then the chances of school looking this way could last much much longer,” Assistant Principal Jen Stewart said. 

While Stewart is not sure what the future of the school year will look like, she does not see any more major changes coming our way, as long as there is no major influx in positive coronavirus cases or stay at home orders from the state. If there is an outbreak of positive cases within the school, there are steps set up to minimize the damage. The school will notify our school community, turn in documentation to the health department and have students and staff that were in contact with the infected student quarantine (if applicable). There is no magic number of positive cases set that would shut down the school. Stewart is trying to encourage people to stay flexible as the year progresses unpredictably.

“If the pandemic has taught me anything it’s that nothing is guaranteed to look the way it looked before. In some ways that has been disappointing but in other ways, we as a school, and myself personally, have found new and more efficient ways of doing things. Change is always difficult, especially when it is thrust upon you, but it’s not always bad. It has made our school leadership and staff really look carefully at many of our different systems and ask the questions ‘why’ and ’why not?’. I think those are extremely healthy and productive conversations to have. They lead to more innovative, flexible and focused ideas,” Stewart said.

Senior Karli Christ is one of the many students to choose the hybrid schedule rather than the fully online. Christ wanted to have in-person learning because the social aspect of class helps her learn and pay attention. She believes the current measures against the virus are the best they could be for being in school, even though there are some things that could be more strictly enforced. Christ’s best hopes for the future is that things will start to go back to normal.

“I don’t even have a guess as to what the future school year is going to look like. I think we’re all hoping to get back to normal so we can have prom and graduation and all that other senior stuff but if a lot more people don’t start doing their part and wearing their mask then we’re not going to get to do anything,” Christ said.

Sophomore Emma Lally chose to go fully online for this semester because she has family at high risk of COVID. Lally still thinks the school has taken good steps to prevent COVID, however.

Lally said, “I’m really hoping to be back to school next semester, but we’ll just have to see how this semester goes and what is going on in the world by then. I honestly have no idea what the future will look like. Everything seems to change by the day. Hopefully they won’t have to shut down this semester and we can all go next semester.”

Implementations :

  • All protocols from Summit Co Dept of Public Health
  • Health self-assessments and temperature scans for all staff
  • Temperature scans for all students
  • Hybrid schedule decreasing the amount of students in the building from 775 to approx 450 (includes 8th),
  • Offering Tallmadge Online option
  • Social distanced classrooms 
  • Mask requirements for all staff and students
  • Hand sanitizer stations in classrooms
  • Disinfection of all desks between classes and of rotunda tables during academy
  • Academy lockdown and open lunch to decrease hall transitions
  • Only virtual meetings
  • No outside groups/visitors in school buildings
  • Staggered dismissal for students 
  • Directional systems in hallways 
  • Decrease of handouts 
  • Electronic textbooks when available
  • Grab and go boxed lunches 
  • Eating in academy room