Adjusting for a Greater Cause

Overcoming the pandemic barriers

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Jasmine Aguilar

Administration checking student’s temperature in the morning before the day begins.

Another unusual new-normal day shines across Juan Diego. Students enter through the South doors, get questioned by Mr. Larson, who then gives them the pass to get some germ-killing liquid. Next, you get your super-exclusive JD ID card scanned, greet the lovely administration team behind reflective plastic, who then shoot a small laser that goes deep into your forehead. If you pass all these tests, they then send you down a one-directional hallway. These are the procedures set in place for students, faculty, and staff to be kept safe from any viral harm.

Students lining up  to get the daily safety check, before entering school. (Jasmine Aguilar)

Although change can be rough, students have found themselves at ease with such demanding procedures. “It doesn’t feel all that different to me; I adjusted pretty quickly,” Sophomore Nicole Merhi said. “I really like longer passing periods, those are pretty nice,” Merhi continued. Due to this unusual year of school, the Juan Diego administration added five more minutes into student’s passing periods to ensure safety with the one-way hallways. “Masks, I think, were a positive change because it keeps everyone safe, along with the safety measures at the beginning of the school day,” Senior Judit Trujillo said. Staff and administrators strive each and every school day to keep the school as safe as possible to prevent any closure from happening.

Students compacted together with little to no social distancing during JD Reads (Jasmine Aguilar)

Due to the vast population of the school, there have been a couple of issues following the Salt Lake County Department of Health guidelines.“The one-directional hallways are a bit annoying and I think it gets even more crowded than before,” Trujillo said. “Same case for the lunch line, because we are all compacted into a smaller place than before,” Trujillo continued. Even though some of these procedures can be inconvenient, they are in place to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. “The school could do a better job at distancing,” Merhi said. “We’re all right next to each other and it makes me uneasy. I also think we need to space out better during reading too,” Merhi continued. Although the students feel left astray, staff are still doing everything in their power to maintain safety.

“The school could do a better job at distancing. We’re all right next to each other and it makes me uneasy. I also think we need to space out better during reading too,””

— Nicole Merhi

School has been different from that of previous years, especially with the diminished amount of social interactions students receive. Something as simple as a high five or being within six feet of another student is a no go this year. “The SLCDH says that masks must always be worn indoors or when six feet distancing is not possible. I don’t think our students do it intentionally when they crowd up but they just get excited to see people and be on campus,” Dean of Students Sam Salts said. “It is our duty as the faculty and staff to remind them we are still experiencing a pandemic and we must do things differently.” Students, staff, and administrators must keep reminding others about social distancing until conditions are safer for students to be around one another again.

Like students, administrators and faculty are just as concerned about how to keep this show run as smoothly as possible. “I think that we all are doing the best we can but it is never a bad thing to remind ourselves that we can always do more,” Salts said. If everyone does their part correctly, the school will be able to remain open. With this in mind, everyone should remember to wash your hands frequently and stay socially distant!