400 Days Later… We’re Back


Mack Jackson, Reporter

Over a year after nationwide lockdowns and school closures went into effect, students at Waterford High School are returning to school full time, albeit with some caveats. Social distancing will be less apparent, as there is simply not enough space for both in-person cohorts to remain six feet apart at all times. Most of the 2020 procedures will stay in place for the remainder of the spring: no large indoor assemblies, no visitors, and staggered class and school dismissal times.

One of the most impactful differences will be a change in focus to the students participating in full in-person learning. WHS principal Mr. Hauser stated, “one of the greatest benefits of having more students here in person is that there are so many things we couldn’t do well online that we want to make up for that lost time in the spring. The way I explained it in the message I sent home about the two schedule options is that anyone who selects the fully remote options will attend all classes virtually through a blend of synchronous class time and independent work. The percentage of the class time that is synchronous will depend on the subject matter and activities for the day, but in most cases will be lower than it has been prior to our full return.” With an anticipated 85% of the population attending in-person, classes will begin to focus less on screens. 

A common criticism growing among the student body is the date on which WHS fully reopens, April 19th. As Connecticut’s quarantine requirement after traveling outside of the state was recently lifted, some are concerned as to a possible spike in COVID-19 cases right after the return to in-person learning. Savannah Hoff, a WHS junior stated, “It’s a very bad idea that we’re going back right after spring break because of all the people who plan on traveling. I’m not going anywhere, but I know for a fact that others who do plan on traveling will not be following CDC guidelines.”  Despite this, Mr. Hauser is convinced that based on past breaks the quarantine requirement is actually what kept students at home, not the cases: “After previous breaks this year (Thanksgiving, winter break, Presidents’ Day weekend) we did see an increase in quarantined students, but these were due to travel restrictions, not an increase in Covid cases among our students.” While the travel restrictions have been removed, the CDC still recommends getting tested 3-5 days after travel and isolating the first seven days.

After April 1st, any resident of the state of Connecticut ages 16 and older became eligible for the vaccine. WHS Junior Ali DeMarco was among those who took advantage of this new opportunity: “It seemed like I was going for a regular vaccine and just before I got it I felt the thrill of excitement and slight twinge of nervousness at the same time.”  Maya Desai received her shot on April 3. She said she felt fine after it: “I was really excited to get it and once I was there, the process was really smooth. Everyone was nice and helpful and I made my second appointment right then.” If students get their vaccines at Mohegan Sun, be sure to stop by the Krispy Kreme near the Summer Valet to receive a free glazed doughnut just for getting vaccinated.

Most students are looking forward to a return to “normal” school. Senior Celine Mendez is excited to have her friends back in her classes: “We’re not a cohort anymore, we’re a herd!” As Senior Sarah Johnson says, “We’ll finally be Lancer Nation again.”