Coronavirus is unpredictable, making it impossible to tell the day things will be ordinary again. However, with new recommendations being released by the CDC, there is new hope that day is soon.
To begin, on March 19th, the CDC caused speculation that Salisbury High School can return full-time when they released that middle and high schools can return fully to school if they maintain three-foot distance. Salisbury follows the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. What readers may not realize is the new three-foot regulation only applies if your county is not in a substantial spread, which Lehigh County unfortunately is.
Ms. Morningstar, the principal at Salisbury High School, had much to say on the matter. “I am not optimistic that we are going to be out of sustainable spread right away, but there were a lot of misleading headlines.” She went on to say, “high school and middle schools are still receiving guidance, if you’re substantial, to keep students six feet apart and masked.”
Furthermore, Salisbury Elementary and Middle School are following the same six-foot distance and other distancing guidelines as SHS. Salisbury Elementary closed on Tuesday, March 30th and on Wednesday, March 31st due to active coronavirus cases. As for other schools in Lehigh Valley, it varies tremendously between each school.
For example, Ms. Morningstar lives in the East Penn school district, where their high school will be virtual for the rest of the year. Erica Wied, a freshman from Whitehall, is currently in a hybrid schedule. Erica “likes her schedule” and thinks “things will be back to normal by next year.”
To continue, one of Salisbury’s biggest challenges in getting students back into school is space. It is hard to space each student 6 feet apart. This is especially difficult in the cafeteria.
Ms. Morningstar said, “A lot of our classrooms just do not have the square footage necessary. It is definitely not the kids. The kids have been doing great about what we have asked. The cafeteria is also difficult because we can only have two students at a table.”
When I asked Paige Ziegenfus, a freshman here at Salisbury, her view on Covid-19 regulation she said, “I think they are important to follow in order to be safe.”
Moving forward, it is anticipated that there will be a word from the CDC or Pennsylvania Department of Health within the next few weeks, but for now, there are not any new rules directly affecting Salisbury regarding distancing.
“We will reevaluate what our guidance is at that time and what our rules are at that time,” said Ms. Morningstar.
Finally, in truth, it is not possible to predict if we will be back in school by the end of the year, but Ms. Morningstar gave her idea of when she believes SHS will be back to a typical routine again.
Ms. Morningstar stated, “It is really a matter of logistics. If we are good citizens and work on controlling the spread over the summer, I am hopeful that we will have a level of normalcy by fall.”
In conclusion, we are heading in the right direction. Salisbury students and teachers are working hard to distance themselves. The organization we had before the coronavirus will likely not be returning as quickly as it left, but it is up to us at Salisbury to ensure our return to traditional school comes as quickly as possible.