Students allowed into school building in limited capacity to exchange belongings

by Eva Zacharakis, News Editor
photo by Hedi Skali

The administration implemented a system for students to bring back textbooks and collect their personal belongings from South while remaining socially distant and following necessary safety protocols.  

From May 25 to June 16, each grade had a designated week to retrieve their belongings, with each day belonging to one house and time slots divided alphabetically.

Prior to students’ visits, the administration gathered information, including what rooms they would need to enter, from students to make the process as safe and efficient as possible.

“We print out a spreadsheet and it gives us a sense of what [students] need to do, which could tell the people inside the building ‘this next person coming in has three stops they need to make,’” Vice Principal Christopher Hardiman said.

In advance of students’ limited return, the custodians thoroughly cleaned the building. 

Custodian Michael Kelly said that many precautions were taken to ensure the safety of students. 

“The preparations for the drop-off were sanitizing everything and making safe areas to drop off books,” he said. “We made sure there was plenty of social distancing for students when they came in.”

 Hardiman said the administration expected around 20 students to collect their belongings during each 30-minute time slot. 

Hardiman said that volunteers, including campus aides, secretaries and teachers, were stationed across the school. “We had people spread out in different areas to guide the students around,” he said. “They were all staff that knew the building and knew where to take kids.”

Junior Noa Asher said the process of dropping off textbooks made her realize how much she missed the normal school routine. 

“It was so crazy for me to think that I actually miss South, in a way, because I’m so used to seeing classmates, and people and teachers,” she said.

Following the drop-off process, textbooks and other materials were left at school for 72 hours. Then, the house secretaries scanned all textbooks to check them in. 

A separate process was set up outside of the field house for people to pick up their medications. Nurse Karleen Kiritsy said that this process followed a separate medication pick-up that took place directly after schools closed in March. 

“We had a drive-by pickup in March, and some parents and students elected to come by the drive-by pickup and pick up [their medications],” she said. “There was a small amount of medication that was not picked up during the drive-by, and that’s why the nurses [were] in the health room for these three weeks.” 

Senior Ethan Kopf said he felt safe in the building due to social distancing guidelines.

“They made sure to keep us all six feet apart while we were waiting to go into the building. And, once we went in, there was almost no one there.”

Asher said that this process was handled well by the administration.

“They handled it very calmly, and it was well-organized. They had good distance measures and everybody followed the protocol with the masks,” she said.