“Over the Nose and Below the Chin”

Face masks, water bottles, and frequent absences are part of the everyday this school year. In March 2020, Cape Public Schools went virtual due to the epidemic outbreak of Covid-19. This school year students had the option to be a virtual student or to come to school “like normal”. This is the story for those of us who chose a “normal” year.

Things are a little different. There are signs on the floor encouraging us to stay 6 feet apart, there are signs in the halls telling us to mask up, and the water fountains are closed and everyone is carrying around a water bottle. One of the biggest changes is having to eat in classrooms, which means not getting to hang out with each other during that time. We have given up a lot of freedoms in order to get to come to school. 

It’s hard to breathe in the halls, in the classroom, just everywhere you go.  It hurts your ears after a while when wearing a mask. Lunch comes in a small box instead of on a tray. Class sizes are smaller and we have less time in the halls together. 

When asked if the year felt different, Danielle Gorham replied, “It
feels different mainly because you can’t really see peoples’ faces.” When you can’t see each others face it makes communication difficult. You can’t tell as easily how other students or teachers feel. It makes it more difficult to build relationships, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. 

Teachers are strict about wearing face masks correctly. All day you can hear the phrase “over the nose”, as teachers remind students to put their mask on correctly. Teachers are constantly sanitizing things and hand sanitizer stations are on walls in every hall. When teachers stay on top of trying to make sure everything is safe, it is easier to relax and feel less worried about being at school around a bunch of people.

Some students have adapted to the changes well or haven’t let them impact them.  “I feel the same this year because I’m a social distance expert.“- E’Jah Wade. For some students at CA, less students in class and having everyone spread out has relieved social anxiety and made it easier to concentrate. Some express support for the measures, with hope they are making a difference. “I feel like the changes aren’t all that bad, and as long as it works I’m all for it.“- David Suchil.

For those of us who chose to come to school, the year has started with new challenges. We are focused on earning our credits and graduating. Being present at school, even with the changes, makes it easier to achieve that goal.