COVID CUSTOMS. According to a study by Burbio, 52% of high schools across the United States are completely virtual. Fortunately, Valley Heights is not one of those schools. However, attending in-person classes comes with a price in the midst of a pandemic. “Before the school year even started, there were many changes that had to be made in order to start school, and it was hard to keep up with. As the year has gone along, safety recommendations have stayed about the same,” says school nurse, Jenna Vathauer, in regards to some of the protocols put in place by the state.
The atmosphere at Valley Heights has also been affected. “I never expected to walk in my senior year of high school not having a locker and wearing a mask”, says senior, Makenzie Joseph. This year, Valley Heights students and staff have made countless adjustments to the school day in order to remain in the building during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include wearing masks, checking temperatures before entering the building, block scheduling, and separating lunch into three different periods. Staff members, such as Principal Chad Kenworthy and teacher Millie Laughlin, agree that block scheduling is the biggest change that has come about since the pandemic began, mostly because of the workload it puts on teachers and the unfamiliar schedule for students in the classroom. Additionally, the janitorial staff has been expanded. Members (and teachers) work throughout the school day to clean classrooms and bathrooms.
Despite all of the changes, students and staff alike are grateful to be attending class in-person. “I would much rather be in person, that way I get to see all of the friendly faces and talk to people,” said Makenzie. Valley Heights is fortunate to be able to attend class in the building, and it is owed much in part to the rural community and small population of Marshall County.
Article by Maddy Vermetten