New school year ushers in old questions


photo by Reagan Eastlick

Students settle down to eat lunch on the second day of school. Many wonder how the school year will proceed.

Will we have to wear masks? Will we have the same events that we did before the pandemic? Will anything ever be the same? 

Hundreds of students and parents pondered how this new school year would look while attending student government-led events from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4. 

The question of mandatory masking is one still being weighed by both the district and school. Seminole County Superintendent Serita Beamon released a notice on Aug. 6 requiring all students to wear a mask while on campus, unless they bring a parent note which says they wish to “opt out” from the program. The policy will be effective for the first 30 days of the school year, but Beamon promised to collaborate with the local health department and experts to review the procedure before the 30 days expire. 

Masks will play a large role in policy discussion at a county level, but any permanent decisions expected from those discussions are yet to be seen. This is due to disagreement in Covid-19 policies between federal, state and county levels of liability. Florida Governor Ron Desantis recently signed an order preventing schools from mandating masks for students in school, actively trying to combat the protective nature of smaller authorities. Tensions between the governor and counties have grown, leading to policies like the 30 day slip notice implemented by Beamon.

The COVID-19 pandemic deeply marked previous school years. Disease ushered in an era of learning behind screens, an era which dramatically changed the students thrown into it. For some, the adjustment back to a traditional school environment may be challenging, but not insurmountable.   

Senior Class President Addie Grace Hart is one person who has given a lot of thought to what the school year will look like. “I look forward to a revival of school spirit and pep rallies; I planned a lot of events for this year, and I know that seniors and freshmen alike are going to have a great time.”

Hart added, “The Student Government Association and I have booked this year solid. Right now we have a tentative date for homecoming set as Nov. 6th, which is right around the corner.” 

Aside from the usual car washes, pep rallies, grad bash, and prom, Hart also has planned a special event for decorating upperclassmen cars called “Zooming through Senior Year.” 

Even as this new school year marks the end of an era for seniors, it marks the beginning of one for freshmen. Addie Grace Hart advises the incoming class: “Get involved! Attend as many games and events as you can. Join clubs! And most importantly, try. Really try – it pays off.”