Since before this unprecedented school year has started, the extremely unpredictable and serious nature of the Coronavirus pandemic has left the Loyola community largely guessing about what the 2020-2021 school year would look like. Even after the Principal’s plans were announced, speculation still abounded over how long these plans would last and whether or not the plans would be changed.
The student body has certainly been kept on their toes regarding how the school year is going to go as the plans have already changed twice: once to e-learning temporarily after an outbreak and another time thereafter to lower classroom density and prevent future outbreaks. While many would say that its unpredictability has been enough to last the whole school year, the student body may be in for yet another change after the principal enclosed a cryptic message about increasing in person instruction in one of his daily emails last week.
With the announcement still yet to come and its implications large and far-reaching, many have been speculating on what these plans will be. Some of these students, hoping for the best but remaining prepared for anything, sat down to offer their predictions on what this plan will be and offered what they would like to see in a best-case scenario as well.
Among the students asked, a majority of them speculated of a plan where every grade would go into school at the same time, but the alphabet would remain split in half with students with last names A-K going on one day and students L-Z going the next. This seems to be par for the administration’s course, considering the class size limits in place to ensure more social distancing and the principal’s note that the he is aiming to double the number of students in the building each day.
Many of the students interviewed recognized many of the advantages brought with only having half the alphabet in at a time, pointing out that having the classrooms around half capacity has worked well to ensure more social distancing and minimize exposure, as well as decrease the amount of contact tracing the administration has to do when a positive case does pop up.
Students also pointed out that this plan has worked well in maximizing the amount of safe, in person instruction time students can receive and decreasing the chances of a large scale grade or school switch to e-learning.
One student floated the idea of all grades going back at a time, but with the alphabet split into thirds because of space and capacity constraints. With the alphabet split into thirds, this student reasoned, there wouldn’t be as big of a jump of in person students to manage, and therefore an easier transition from plan to plan.
When asked about what plan they would prefer if it was up to them, many students expressed that they would like to be with the entirety of their grade, a popular sentiment as many students are split up from friends with the plan currently in place. Students realized, however, that this may not be feasible due to the nature of the pandemic, as doing so would increase classroom density and make the student body more prone to outbreaks, as well as multiply the need for contact tracing.
Realizing this, many students have chosen to remain optimistic at what is they see as likely to come ahead, offering some advantages of the alphabet split such as frequent in person instruction, less changing of plans, and possible interaction with other grades in classes.