Students brief return for locker clean-out

Olivia C., Features Editor

Between the last week in May and the beginning of June, students were able to return their materials to the school and retrieve any of their belongings from their lockers.  


There was extensive planning involved in order to keep both the staff and students safe, as there were special regulations to follow due to COVID-19.  


“We sorted the list of students alphabetically so that we had the best chances of getting siblings to come at the same time and make it the most convenient for all of the families,” said coordinator of student affairs, Jennifer Santorello.  


Some students who participated in extracurricular activities, such as sports or marching band came during the first four days. Anyone with medicine at school also came within this time frame.  


“We had many coaches come back to help collect sporting equipment. Therefore, all the spring athletes came back the first two days of locker clean out. Additionally, we had music staff on site for four days to help with the return of instruments or marching band uniforms […] Lastly, we had nurses on duty for students and parents to come pick up their medications that they store here at school,” said Santorello.  


Other members of the staff volunteered to assist in this process. They were needed in the cafeteria and locker rooms, or they helped distribute items.  


“The staff was contacted by Mrs. Boritz who asked for volunteers to sign up for a day to represent the department to college the different textbooks […] Collecting textbooks at the end of the year is already an overwhelming process and now with all of the new protocols I knew it would be harder […] My job was to keep the different math textbooks organized, in the cafeteria, and to make sure each book had a book slip filled out. [I organized the slips] and gave them to the head of the math department,” said math teacher Christina Pawlowski.  


At the end of each day, any books or calculators that were returned to the school were sanitized by custodial staff, in order to disinfect any germs. They were then placed in the correct departments. This process continued throughout the two weeks.  


Social distancing was another aspect that factored into the scheduling of this. Students were required to wear masks at all times. There was also security that ensured everyone was six feet apart.  


“It was extremely quick and organized. All of the student times were staggered, and it didn’t feel at all crowded,” said Pawlowski.  


The locker clean-outs ran very smoothly. It was a team effort between coordinators, students, and other volunteers. However, some suggest changes that could have been made.  


“One thing we could have done differently was add more students to each session. There were approximately 50 to 70 students scheduled per session but stretched out across the whole building. It really only felt like there were a few present at a time,” said Santorello.  


When students arrived at the school, it was an emotional experience for them, just as it was for the teachers. 


“It was so strange to see the hallways of the school empty. I am used to seeing all my friends and teachers here. When I went, it was so quiet […] I went straight to my locker to pick up all of my things. It was really sad because it was the first time I realized that school was actually ending, without being able to be in the building itself,” said sophomore Veronica B. 


For many people, this was their last time they were allowed into the building. Under rare circumstances, teachers saw their students for the last time.  


Coming back to the high school after leaving so abruptly was a mix of emotions: excited, happy, sad and strange. I never could have predicted what happened this year. I expected to finish out the year and have the usual celebrations. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my friends or students […] Being around co-workers all wearing masks made me realize just how real this is. I was happy that I got to see a few of my own students, and it was just nice being able to interact with them or have conversations in person, rather than just through email or over Zoom.  It was a great reminder of how everything used to be,” said Pawlowski.  🔳