McIntosh Back To School

Schools have started back all over Georgia and while some have decided to go back all virtual, others are going back in person. Many schools had pushed back starting dates until mid-August. For countless students, this means hybrid scheduling, required masks, socially distanced hallways, and reduced class sizes. Staff and faculty members have had to undergo training on these procedures and how to carry on teaching under the restrictions of COVID-19. McIntosh has followed these procedures and has even included touchless hand sanitizing stations throughout the school and one-way hallways.
Principal Dan Lane responded to questions that asked about starting school during this pandemic.
“In 31 years of opening school, there has never been one like this one. I have never experienced a hybrid schedule in my career either,” Lane said.

COVID-19 is a new experience for everyone and even more so for teachers; they have had to learn a new way to teach, simultaneously virtually and face to face. Science teacher, Samantha Krage responded “It is harder to teach using the hybrid schedule (although I understand why it is necessary). There is not as much interaction with the students. Students struggle to learn online at home, so I have to find ways to help them while still working with the students that are present in my class that day.” Preparing for this school year was different than what teachers have been used to. “Planning has been difficult largely because I can’t rely on the same activities as in past years. With only seeing students twice a week, I have to modify what I teach. Some of it has to be through videos at home, and some of it, usually the harder material, is taught in class. I’m working to find a balance between teaching content and doing fun activities on in-person school days,” Krage said.
English teacher, Shanon Woolf replied, “I have students seated on only one side of the table for A days and the other side for B days, and that way not only am I cleaning the tables, no other student is even seated in that space on alternating days.”

This year I am being asked to do things I am really not qualified or trained to do. I am not an infectious disease expert, but I am having to contact trace possible exposure and quarantine students and staff. Along with my administrative team, we are having to revise just about every procedure we have to align with CDC guidelines and a hybrid schedule.”

— Principal Dan Lane

He also stresses the three important things that students need to continue doing outside of school: wearing a mask, staying socially distanced, and sanitizing regularly.
Freshmen coming to McIntosh during COVID-19 are having to adjust to a new school and different procedures from the normal school year. When asking what they thought of the school year the replies were varied.
“When I came to school, it definitely felt different just because of the whole mask situation and the fact that we really never met our teachers beforehand like we normally do,” Anslie Harrell stated.
When another student was asked the same question their response was as follows, “It was weird. My first experience in high school was wearing a mask and having to learn my way around the building with the one-way hallways,” Kaitlyn Marks said.
“I learn better once I’m interested in a subject, so in-person learning is better for me so I don’t get distracted,” Andrew Laughlin.
Students learn differently now than they did in the years past. Hybrid scheduling has given more freedom to students, but they also have to manage their time and workload well. A sophomore was asked how they felt they learned better.
“I really enjoy virtual learning because I can do my work at my own pace with no distractions and don’t have to wake up so early,” Lauren Young stated.
One senior was asked how they felt about this year. “When I came to school on the first day, it felt really empty and a lot calmer. Due to the hybrid schedule, it has been a little harder for me to do my work. I just hope that this year we will still be able to partake in senior activities,” Emily Harrell said.
In order to continue with in-person learning, we must adhere to CDC guidelines and wear masks. Although this year has started off differently than many of us had anticipated, we are still able to attend school in person. Despite the adversity we are all having to overcome, everyone is working at making this the easiest transition possible. “I would love to see us get to all in-person learning at some point, but I don’t see that happening any time soon,” Dr. Lane said.