Students walk past each other maskless. Seeing, once again, the smiling faces of their peers. Students huddled during lunchtime, and desks clustered closely together in the classroom. For 2022, this is a strange world. However, the Ridgewood High School administration’s plans for the high school moving forward ensure this will not become a reality.
As a public school, RHS abides by the laws provided by the governor and the state. Although the mask mandate ends January 11th, it is still unknown whether this will officially determine if masks will be worn. Considering the recent spike in Coronavirus cases, a maskless school will continue to remain a distant fantasy.
On the other hand, masks do appear to be effective in mitigating COVID-19 within the school. “What we are doing is working because we do not have [COVID-19] spread in the building that we have been able to detect,” explained Pizzuto, “we are more prepared than we ever were.”
Love it or hate it, virtual school is not a thing of the past. Students today are still forced to quarantine if they contract, or are in contact with, COVID-19. The possibility of digital learning during snow days is also in the air, but at this moment, Pizzuto says, “the state is not allowing it.”
In a more positive light, a major donation is responsible for three construction projects currently underway at RHS. New equipment in the makerspace and renovations in the recording studio have slowly been implemented and incorporated into students’ classes. The latter project, making its appearance in the summer, will have to do with a new food lab.
New HD cameras as well as an entirely new control room will create a more up-to-date experience for the students. Mr. Holand does a majority of his teaching in the recording studio and he said excitedly, “This will bring everything up to the 21st century digital standards.”
A trip to Europe is planned for the Spring of 2022. Students will be led through Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Although originally planned for last year, the tour has taken the precautions necessary to minimize the spread of COVID.
Rapid tests are required forty-eight hours prior to departure for all traveling students, and only a negative result enables the student fit to travel. Once in Europe, the mask mandate is enforced. According to Pizzuto, one of the organizers of the trip, “the mask mandate would be similar to school.” Coming back from the trip, students are required to take another test. Positive results will call for a quarantine of the student and his/her chaperone.
Recovering from these past years is easier said than done. However, the difficulties are over and we may endeavor to return life to a sort of normalcy. Ridgewood High School has a lot on its plate with having to provide the best schooling experience possible while also managing the hardships of COVID-19. A bright future is ahead, but we must play our part to prepare!
Graphic: Jiah Lee
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