Campus Life and the New Normal
Students are clearly excited to return to campus despite the many Covid-19 hurdles – from disinfecting liquid and temperature checks to isolation tents and disinfecting mats for shoes.
To get a feel of this much awaited return and the changed atmosphere we did the rounds with Jennifer Wu, a Year 6 student, well known for her violin virtuosity. She offered some thoughts on the new rules and the novelty of sharing the building with seniors.
Her very first impression of the new school environment was the obvious intrusion of unusual equipment, especially the red tents that can be spotted on the east side of Playground A. These are for sitting in while waiting for another round of temperature checks.
Noticeable additions included the colourful bins for mask disposal and the one-way routes for walkers to maintain safe social distancing.
She is ambivalent about the desk dividers. “I think it's good to have a little space for yourself,” she says, but the dividers disrupt conversation and banter that generate new ideas, a key function of the school Learning Communities.
Clearly she misses her friends who are still in other countries like South Korea. But this is a useful time to develop new campus friendships, Jenny feels.
Which rules have been the hardest to observe? Well, that’s social distancing, she said. It has placed necessary restrictions on all student interactions, from work to play. “Sometimes we still want to play tag, but we can't, because that would involve physical contact,” says Jenny. Now students have had to come up with creative ways to manage contact sports.
Despite having to make some major adjustments to their lives, Jenny believes it’s important for students to follow these rules because if one person is infected it could create another spike and disrupt school life once again.
Despite the huge changes, students have displayed a great deal of understanding and have been key players in the smooth running of the school.
Jenny says that she begins each school day checking she has her sanitizer and masks but this is no reflection on the school, which overall “is very safe.”
Although coming back to campus and catching up with friends has been great for Jenny, when at school, she misses her nine-month-old sister who she got used to play with every day for many hours before school started. So now, at the end of the day, Jenny looks forward to seeing her sister when she gets home.