In the mornings, students can be seen hanging out outside of Sandpoint High School. Normally, when the winter months roll around, kids would move their before school gatherings into the commons until the bell rang. With the new restrictions as a result of COVID, students now have two options: go straight to class when they arrive at the school or loiter outside of the building despite the weather.
Assistant Principal Derek Dickinson recognizes that students want to socialize since it is limited during the school day, but there could be more steps taken by students to be safe when socializing. “I think it’s just kinda one of those organic things that kids want to do and, yeah, I think that it’s mostly positive,” Dickinson said, “I do wish that there was maybe more social distancing and mask wearing and things like that but we generally let kids have that time to meet out front before coming in.”
If Dickinson was a teen during these confusing times, he would want to be productive. “I think it would depend. I think there would be times I would want to come in because I’d probably want to use that time to do work,” he said. However, Dickinson can also see why students loiter in front of the school building when he puts himself in their shoes. I think there would be times that maybe I’d want to use that as a time to meet up with some friends and talk a little bit, do some socializing.” he said. Dickinson also pointed out that school doesn’t start until 8:45 now so kids have the option to stay home and sleep in later than in past school years.
Principal David Miles also expresses his opinion on the subject saying, “We would prefer if students did not congregate, but we are not going to press the issue at this time.” Miles also explained that the school could find ways to help the students have more social time with their friends, however, “We should not be promoting social activities during the times of COVID.” he said, “School is an educational organization and although we recognize the importance of socializing, it really isn’t our duty to make sure kids are socializing.”
According to Miles and Dickinson, the faculty has not discussed letting kids gather inside the foyer and commons in the morning before school. “The decision rests a lot on the fact that before 8:20, teachers and staff are not on supervision duty. They need this time to get ready for class.”
Some students like Freshman Lauren Harrison agree with Dickinson. “I don’t think I would change the policy if I could,” Harrison said, “I feel like it’s a safer thing.” Although Harrison agrees that not letting students enter the school building until 8:20 is safe, she still wishes that she and her friends could roam the halls before class like they used to.
On the other hand, Sophomores Calvin Hinds and Caleb Gonzalez disagree. Hinds said, “I think the school should let kids hang out in the commons until like 10 minutes before the bell rings and then make them go to class.” he said, “I mean they’re going to be together in the class anyway, why can’t they do it outside of class.” Gonzalez also thinks that students should be allowed to stand in groups outside in the morning. He simply said, “I don’t want to wear a mask, so I stay outside and hang out with my friends.”
Overall, students at Sandpoint High School are just trying to find ways to hang out with friends and make up for the lack of socialization during the school day, which is more challenging than before due to COVID precautions. Although some students are upset with the new guidelines, ultimately the school board is just trying to keep all students happy and healthy.