“We’ve literally taken every rule and every protocol and re-written it to keep students and our staff members safer,” said Kelli Miller, assistant principal at Alta High School in Sandy.
Students will experience the difference as soon as they walk through the “entrance only” doors. From there, signs on the walks and floors instruct them what direction to walk and remind them to “keep your distance.”
In the science lab, desks are spaced three feet apart, and six feet from the teacher. Teachers and staff are still re-arranging furniture to ensure that happens. Students will all sit forward with assigned seating.
“So that we can easily contact trace if there’s an event where we do have a positive case in our school,” said Miller.
Students at Alta demonstrated how lunch will likely include many students going outside into the courtyard and sitting spaced apart.
Miller said some teachers at her school will likely move classes outdoors and even into the stadium to help kids spread out.
Even the marching band practiced on the football field with specific safeguards. They conduct daily temperature checks and students wear masks when they’re not playing instruments.
“For right now, we’re not wearing masks, we’re just spreading out the kids a lot,” said band director Caleb Shabestari.
Elementary schools will have many of the same protocols, but with more visuals. At Altara Elementary in Sandy, students will see signs, dots and lines to guide them like a street into their classrooms.
“One of the things as we’re welcoming students back, is to keep six feet apart. And we’re marking our spots,” said Principal Nicole Svee Magann.
The school has extended the cafeteria into the gym to spread out tables and added sanitizer stations. And salad bars and self-serve options in the lunch line are gone.
“They’ll have a hot lunch, but everything will be on their tray for them,” said MaGann.
Numbered, colored dots on the cafeteria benches represent assigned seating.
Administrators will work to educate students on the importance of following the rules for kids and parents.
“Parents are concerned and they want to hear reassurance from us that we have lots of plans in place to keep their students safe,” said Miller.
Many of the students say social distancing will be the most difficult change.
“That’s going to be tough. I’m a hugger. I miss my friends,” said Alta student Shayla Baird.
But every student said masks, rules and social distancing are worth the chance to return to school in-person.