Coronavirus Causing Change


Junior Kate Stebbins seen during lunch sitting a safe distance from other students.

How has COVID-19 impacted you as a student and others around you? How has your school day changed? 

The Lexington Richland 5 School Board spent endless weeks debating on the safest and most logical way to go about the 2020-2021 school year. Their decision was to create a hybrid schedule that focused on social distancing and avoided having an abundance of students in any given area of a school building at any time. 

The schedule divided students into two cohorts, with Cohort “A” being students with last names beginning A-K, and Cohort “B containing students with the last names L-Z. Students in Cohort A attend schools on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, whereas students in Cohort B attend on Thursday’s and Friday’s. “I enjoy the hybrid schedule because I know that the district is trying to keep us safe by keeping the number of students at school low,” said Sophomore Sarah Mooney.

While attending physical school, it is enforced that students wear a mask at all times and keep six feet away from others while sitting in desks and other areas of the school.

 Lunch was also altered immensely with the new dynamic as Power Hour no longer existing. Students now go to one of four lunches where they are to sit with only one other person in their area, while also keeping a distance. Students may sit in the cafeteria or outside within the amphitheater. This is different from years prior. In the past, students were given the option to sit in both teacher’s classrooms and the library. Students are to report back to class immediately after their eating period. It is also stressed that masks are to only be removed while eating, and not during any other part of the school day. 

When asked how she felt about the social distanced hybrid schedule occurring this year, Junior Reece Mack said, “I like being socially distanced at school because it makes me feel less nervous about getting the virus.”

Another notable factor put into place for this school year was the complete virtual “FIVE” program.  FIVE, which stands for Flexible Innovative Virtual Education, was implemented for those who felt weary about attending physical school due to the virus, as well as those who felt that being all virtual would be an easier alternative to success. Under this program, students stay at home 5 days a week and attend Google Meets daily. The daily classroom meetings are an attempt to make up for the lack of physical interaction that the hybrid students receive. 

FIVE student Catherine Chu said, “I decided to choose the FIVE program due to the Coronavirus still being prevalent. I saw how other schools that opened were re-closed within a matter of weeks and I did not want to engage in the risk factor. Also, being at home all the time gives me more time to complete college applications which is convenient.”
Overall, students say they are trying persevere to find a sense of normality, even through normal has been shifted greatly in many aspects of education.