South Encourages Safe Study Spaces

Lexi Doherty and Evie Barth

As Salina South High students prepared to return at the beginning of the year, a common question arose. “How will we stay COVID-19 safe?” 

While there is a district wide mask and social distancing mandate, South High has done more to help stop the spread. The student body has been split in half creating a Cohort A and Cohort B. 50% of students attend school in the morning, while the other 50% attends school in the afternoon. To ensure not spreading the (corona) virus, the two Cohorts are not intended to mix. In between class periods and cohorts, desks, chairs, computers, handles, and restrooms are cleaned. 

In classrooms, desks are spaced six feet apart. In computer classrooms, each desk and computer is labeled A and B, as to not cross contaminate cohorts. In the lunchroom and break rooms dividers are used to keep students and faculty safe. 

During the remodel of South High, which started in 2016 and completed in fall of 2019, collaborative areas were created to give students areas outside of the classroom to work. Because of COVID, students were skeptical if the new areas would be available to use. Before the pandemic students could be found doing classwork or mingling in these areas. Now, students are still able to use these areas, however they must follow social distancing and standard COVID protocol. There are couches, tables, think tanks, and lounge chairs available for students to work at.

Senior Lizzy Franco enjoys using the collaborative areas. “I use them all the time. During class I go out there to work to help space out,” Franco said.

Students are encouraged to use the collaborative areas during school. Couches and lounge chairs provide different sitting options and a change of scenery. Tables and bar areas allow students to spread out and complete school work. Think tanks provide a quiet and closed space for students to take tests and do group projects.

Sophomore Jake Disney finds the Think Tanks the best place to work. “They are available to every student and allow for a quiet workplace.”

Collaborative areas are also a great resource for students enrolled in online classes. Franco is enrolled in a college English course online. “Zooming with my English teacher makes it easier to understand what is going on while she is not actually in person,” stated Franco. 

For faculty and students the option to work remotely was available. Carla Moore, the Senior Advanced English teacher, took this opportunity. 

 “I feel fortunate to be in a school district that made adjustments to the schedule (cohorts A and B), to class sizes, and to allow remote access for those at high risk to ensure safety.”

Students who are struggling in class are able to come in early or leave late from school to receive help. Teachers work with the students in the collaborative areas, to help minimize the spread of germs and mixing cohorts. 

Staying COVID safe has been a top priority for Salina South High. “Salina South has done an excellent job as far as I know in establishing and enforcing COVID-19 protocols for safety,” Moore said.