On October 15, all CCHS students were cleared to return to campus if they wished to do so. Beforehand, CCHS and all other Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) campuses have been operating entirely on a virtual basis since March. The limited reopening is the first opportunity in seven months for students to return to work on campus. However, things are very different to how they were last year.
The social distancing restrictions are quite rigorous. Entrances to the 3400 and 3900 building have been restricted, with the doors being split between being entrance-only and exit-only locations. Students must also enter at specific entrances depending on the classroom location they have to enter that period.
A class change between buildings now usually requires a full circle around campus. However, the pathway markers both inside and outside of the buildings are quite clear and hard to miss. Additionally, the ten-minute break between classes allows for a longer time to reach your destination.
“[Administration is] going the extra mile and although the one-way halls are honestly pretty annoying, I understand it’s for our safety,” freshman Veronica Ribak said. “It will be a very long time [until campus returns to normal], probably a year or more when the vaccine is developed. I just don’t see the cases going down anytime soon.”
“[Administration is] going the extra mile and although the one-way halls are honestly pretty annoying, I understand it’s for our safety.”Freshman Veronica Ribak
For the teachers who decided to remain home, their classrooms are empty. Students with those teachers must now report to alternative locations during those periods. These students are sent to the media center, with the mini-gym and the auditorium now being used as overflow classrooms.
Most of these overflow rooms include kids from several classes. The media center and Auditorium have ample charging locations and internet for students’ computers. However, the internet is inarguably slow and unreliable in the mini gym, which usually happens to be hosting the most kids at any given period.
Lunch and breakfast have been altered as well. Instead of assembling your tray within the lunch line, students simply approach the counter, take a prepared bag and head to their seat. Weekend lunch and breakfast bags are also available for students at the end of the week if they would like to take some food home. Breakfast and lunch are currently free for all students.
Seating both in the cafeteria and elsewhere is now heavily altered, with all tables in the cafeteria being replaced by desks, each six feet apart. Picnic tables are still available in the courtyard and under the red awning, but some seats have been crossed out to preserve social distancing. Eating during lunch is the only time students are permitted to remove their masks.
Eating during lunch is the only time students are permitted to remove their masks.
Not every student who did choose to return to campus found it worthwhile, as some chose to remain home even after just the first day back.
“If more people were there then yes, [in-person school] would be better,” junior Camillo Martinez said. “Also, social distancing is impossible in a school environment.”
Despite the reopening, some students are still finding virtual school pretty rewarding.
“There’s more freedom when given time to work because I can work on any assignment I need to complete and work at my own pace and schedule as opposed to the one my teacher sets,” junior Kacper Perssaid said.
The pandemic has changed school for the foreseeable future. CCHS has changed, as has the rest of BCPS. As the state of the pandemic continues to change, students face growing challenges and choices about their education in this new status quo.
Photo by Arielle Kraus