What is Expected to Happen When We Go to 50%

What is Expected to Happen When We Go to 50%

Giuliana Barberio, Staff Writer

Yes, the time has come. We are one step closer to finally going to school normally again. 50% capacity is a very popular topic being talked amongst those in the LHS building and out. As most already know, school will be going to 50% on the first day of the second marking period. 

But some people still might not know what to expect once it happens. What is the cafeteria going to now look like? How often does the Administration talk about these changes? Dr. Noviello, the assistant principal for LHS, was nice enough to speak with the CST and answer some questions.

 Every student is required to sit six feet apart in a classroom. The average amount of students in a classroom varies from six to ten. At most there are around 13 students in a classroom and sometimes you could get just two present students. However, now that there are going to be more students attending, there must be a new way to arrange them. Dr. Noviello told the Charles Street Times how things will work.  “The changes that are going to take place are students, and teachers, are going to be required to wear their masks the whole day. So when you’re in the classroom and are unable to socially distance, students will have to keep their masks on at all times. We also ordered desk shields for all of the students. So when you come in for first period, every student will have a desk shield assigned to them. Then that’ll be your desk shield for the remainder of the day. You’ll bring those to each of your classes and then you will drop them off at the end of the day.” 

As everyone knows, LHS hallways can get pretty crowded during the normal change of classes.  Dr. Noviello also expressed a concern. “Although everyone has been doing a great job so far, we definitely feel like we need to make some improvements with the flow of traffic. As far as the students following the arrows in the hallways and the one-way stairwells, we definitely need some work in that area.”  If students adhere to the posted arrows, especially in the high traffic hallways, it will hopefully keep traffic jams to a minimum. 

In the past, arranging multiple chairs then a table can even fit is usually how most students sat in lunch. But now things have changed dramatically. Only one student is required to sit at each table at this time, so many students have been wondering how LHS will accommodate more students in the cafeteria? Dr. Noviello explained the plan for the lunch room in great detail.  “We’re going to be changing out the tables that are currently in the cafeteria and putting in six-foot tables. Since it’s a six-foot table, there will be two students sitting on opposite sides. That is how we’ll be able to accommodate the 50% instead of the 25%. We also have room for overflow in the rotunda. Just in case, we’re going to put a few tables like there are currently in the rotunda. Then if necessary we’re going to put tables in the hallway alongside the gym.”

Lindenhurst has had great success with keep everyone safe and healthy at our current model of 25% attendance.  There is no surprise that people are wondering if we will go back to 25% capacity or automatic full remote if cases should start to uprise.  According to Dr. Noviello, “Chances are we’re probably not going to go back down to 25%. We feel that we’ve been able to manage…that we’ve done fairly well since the reopening our numbers have been very, very low. Thankfully. However, if there are cases, what will most likely happen will depend on the circumstances, because every circumstance is slightly different. If a student is positive and the student is in the building, if we are 50%, then what might happen is we’ll have to go to remote for the next day. Rather than reverting back to the 25%, the classes will have to be held either remote for a day or possibly longer depending on the circumstances.  That will be for the Superintendent to make that decision.”

When asked how frequently administration and the committees meet to speak about these topics, Dr. Noviello explained how the Lindenhurst Community works together.  “I think it’s important for everyone to know it’s really been a collaboration. There are people from all of the schools that are on the committee. There are principals from the middle school and principals from the elementary schools. The superintendent is on the committee. Teachers and a parent are also on the committee. So really it’s been a collaboration. We all come together to talk about our ideas. We usually meet once a week to talk about things and see how things are going and what changes we need to make moving forward. We really feel like the whole phase-in approach was really, really successful and was a good idea. Because when we only had 25% of the students, we were kind of able to look around the building and see what was going to be an issue. Let’s say like the entry when students come in the building or maybe the cafeteria might be an issue. But since we opened at 25%, we were able to identify those issues. So now that we’re going to 50% we can fix those areas. I think that’s probably important for people to know”

It is so relieving to have an idea about what is going to happen once the school goes up to 50%. It seems to signify that we’re slowly going back to normal.  It is important for people to realize that we just need to find new ways for that to be able to happen.