Several students head back inside a classroom for the first time since the height of COVID-19

First day of school comes with new rules
Archbishop Spalding classroom.jpg
Posted at 7:49 AM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 09:26:28-04

SEVERN, Md. — Monday, August 31st is the first day of school for several kids Maryland.

For some students, it’s also the first time they will see the inside of a classroom since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Teachers and staff at a few Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be welcoming back students Monday.

Students haven't filled the halls of Archbishop Spalding High since the pandemic forced schools to close in March, but now it's time for them to return.

Archbishop Spalding High School spanish teacher

Catherine Hellie said “this building has missed the students, we have really missed them, and we are very excited to have them back and be able to teach them again.”

Hellie and Archbishop Spalding High School president Kathleen Mahar prove that students aren't the only ones excited about the first day of school.

“Excited and terrified at the same time, because we know it will be different, and we want them to feel safe. First of all we want them to feel welcome, because they are, we are so excited about their return, but we know that it's going to be a monstrous task,” Mahar said.

Every part of a student's day will be different this year from the moment they enter school until they sit down in a classroom.

Archbishop Spalding High School Principal Amy Cannon said “students come in, they will sanitize their hands on the way into the classroom, take their seats, of course the will have their mask on, and then during class they're not sharing supplies.”

Cannon describes some of the other changes happening inside the classroom to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

“You can see we've spaced desks apart from each other. We've actually, because of our size, we are doing a hybrid model, so half of our student body is here for in-person, while the other half is at home, two days a week and then they switch,” Cannon said.

Going to school during COVID-19 brings new experiences for staff as well.

“At the end of the class period, teachers will leave time at the end for there to be cleaning of the desks with a disinfectant, and again, sanitizing that area before that group leaves,” Cannon said.

Once the bell rings, students won't be hanging out in the hallways, as chatting with friends at their locker will be a thing of the past.

“There are no lockers this year. Teachers will be stepping out into the halls, any staff, administrators we will be out and about as well, guiding, not being a big brother, and reminding them how to walk safely through a hallway,” Mahar said.

“We typically have an 8-period day, that are about 45 minutes long, and now we are doing blocks of of 90 minutes to reduce that movement through the hallways,” Cannon said.

Even a trip to the cafeteria to meet up with friends and grab a bite to eat won't be the same.

“To go into the cafeteria, they will pre-order their lunches and go into a designated line to pick them up, and then return to the classroom. So, we won't be eating in the cafeteria” Mahar said.

Despite all of the changes happening at school, many are just happy to be back inside the building once again.

“We've missed our students, and I think they've missed us, and I know that our families are very excited to be able to have their children come back to is, and we are really thrilled to be able to see them” Cannon said.

Hellie points out another thing which will be different is foreign language teachers will be wearing clear masks in class to make it easier for students to see their lips and learn how to pronounce words correctly.