Students Excited to Return Despite Distancing Concerns


Jasmine Van Leeuwen

Classroom seating spaced six feet apart is one of several precautions Stamford High School has enacted to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Jasmine Van Leeuwen, Community Editor

On September 8 and 9, Stamford High School students returned to school for the first time in months. Students were greeted with a handful of new guidelines including mask wearing at all times, socially distant desks in classrooms, and a new hybrid attendance model. Despite all of these precautions, however,  students have mixed opinions on returning to school. 

Most students are generally happy to be back in school. Stamford High School senior Allie Findeisen said, “I am happy to be back in school, but it’s strange being with only half our grade.”

Senior Gabby Argenio said, “I feel excited about it because it’s my senior year, but I’m also pretty scared.”

Senior Diana Vukel said she was nervous to be back.  “I greatly appreciate the efforts of administration and staff to provide a safe environment, but it’s still a little unsettling knowing how many continue to go out and disregard COVID guidelines,” Vukel said.

To combat the virus, each classroom was prepared with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available for students and teachers to use. Additionally, all of the desks are socially distanced, and mask wearing is mandatory.

“I feel safe in school,” said senior Shaina Bond. “Every classroom is spaced out safely.” 

However, some say the hallways of Stamford High appear tell a different story.

Findeisen says that “Walking in the hallways is scary. The kids are very close together and people don’t always obey the directional arrows.” She added that she has seen students in some of her classes who do not wear their masks properly, which she said makes her feel unsafe.

Senior Karina Grabine said, “With one case at Stamford High, how long until the virus begins to spread between students and there is an outbreak?”

The cafeteria poses another social distancing challenge. Although the desks where students eat are socially distanced, students have been moving them closer to their friends. Additionally, when exiting the cafeteria, social distancing is hard to enforce. Argenio said she did not feel safe in the cafeteria.

“It’s the same distance as we are in the classroom and we aren’t allowed to take off our masks there, but we are in the cafeteria. That doesn’t make sense to me,” Argenio said. “I would feel a lot safer being able to eat outside or in my car.”

Students exit the Stamford High cafeteria on Monday, September 14. (Karina Grabine)

Manka acknowledged that cafeteria dismissal, along with hallways during passing times, posed a particular challenge when it comes to social distancing.

“We need the help of the students. We all know that we need to stay six feet apart and there are two people staff members helping remind,” Manka said. “I’m really going to be dependent on my students being mindful of the six foot spacing.”

Manka also said that there were plans to address hallway congestion during passing times.

Hallways, we are going to toy around with that a little bit,” he said. “We don’t have a perfect practice yet but we think we are going to do some sort of staggered dismissal and the end of each period, maybe by minute.”

Since returning to school, Stamford High has had a closed campus.  Although the measure was enacted as a safety precaution, several students expressed frustration that they could no longer exercise the senior privilege of leaving the school for lunch.