Looking back on an overall successful return to school this fall, it was very different from any other typical year. With COVID-19 still at large, many activities were changed in the Middle School. The changes have been hard and made the school day less enjoyable with the free and unsupervised time taken away, but they were necessary to keep us at school.
Westminster has done an excellent job of enforcing COVID-19 protocols and adding additional changes and materials to keep us safe. In the Middle School, Westminster has decreased the number of class transitions and scattered the release of different grades to ensure the halls are not overcrowded. Wearing a mask over the nose and under the chin and staying six feet apart are strictly enforced. While wearing a mask is different, it is a change that is not too hard to make.
On the other hand a more difficult change to make has been the new routine at lunch. Students receive individually-packed lunches during lunch, and unless the conditions are too harsh, classes always eat outside. Even though I know that these adjustments ensure our safety, it is way less enjoyable to have to eat with our classes and not be able to sit with friends in the cafeteria.
To prevent COVID from spreading throughout the school, at the beginning of each week students take COVID-19 saliva tests. Upon a positive test result, the student and any of the student’s family members are prohibited on the campus for at least ten days. Any other close contacts of the student are also required to quarantine. Close contacts are anyone who has been around the COVID-19 positive student or teacher for more than fifteen minutes at less than six feet. Westminster has not entirely prevented COVID-19, as there are still other activities still going on, and others might not enforce COVID-19 rules as strictly as Westminster does. Even though recently a COVID-19 outbreak occurred in the Upper School, I still feel comfortable at school due to constant testing.
Currently, Westminster basketball is continuing to go on, and players are not required to wear masks during games, but all players were tested during the previous week to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 during games. I am thankful that we get to even have athletics during this time as other schools might not have sports. Also, I am confused over how we are allowed to not wear masks during games against other schools. We are required to wear masks during basketball practice, but for some reason allowed to not wear masks during games.
Overall during the year, Westminster has done an excellent job of enforcing COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Cases of Coronavirus were rare, and when they did occur, the spread of it was stopped almost immediately. Because of how well Westminster has handled COVID-19, I do not need to worry as much about the epidemic but can focus more on academics as the first semester exams get closer.