Bulldogs back to school: students adapting to new atmosphere
September 15, 2021
Riverside-Brookfield students have undergone many changes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, students have seen a multitude of RB policies and guidelines come and go. With Riverside Brookfield returning to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, “normal” school may take some time getting used to. Welcome back, Bulldogs.
RB students compare remote learning to returning in-person
Riverside Brookfield High School welcomed their students back to a full learning day on August 16th. Many students have not been in the building for a full day since winter of 2020, some students had to complete their first year as high schoolers online. 84% of students said they enjoyed in-person learning more than online, 16% said otherwise.
A lot of students are having a rough time adjusting to the schedule, which is back to the original 8:00 A.M. to 3:05 P.M.
“The challenge for me was to have to wake up that early, get out of bed and get ready to go to school, as well as having 50 minute classes instead of last year’s class time.” Kylie Campbell said, a senior here at Riverside Brookfield.
Now that students are adjusted to the schedules everyone seems to be back to normal, but others are still struggling to adjust to the educational part of the school day, because of the effect online took on all of the student body at Riverside Brookfield.
“During online classes it was hard to stay motivated because I was just locked in my room, but now that we’re here at school I’m able to be surrounded by my friends and others,” Maddie Janis said, a senior at Riverside Brookfield.
In today’s society, we have all the technology to make learning easier on students during online classes, but do the students feel like they’re benefiting from online learning? “I feel like during online learning, a lot of people thought it was optional because our teachers weren’t in front of us and they weren’t checking in on everything like they would do in person,” said Campbell.
Even though there are some regulations in place still at Riverside Brookfield because of COVID-19, many students still prefer in-person classes.
“Even though it’s a struggle to get up in the morning, seeing people makes my day a whole lot better,” Janis said.
Students have significantly done better during in-person classes due to all of the hands-on experiences they’re getting as well as a real life connection with their instructors, classmates, and their own education.
Although everyone seems to enjoy in-person a lot more, there are some factors people are missing from online learning. “I miss waking up later, classes being easier, and being able to have certain freedoms during online classes” Janis said.
While online, many had flexible schedules, more study time, and no commute (which may be a struggle for some students). In person still beats online because now students are able to have interactions face to face, more in class direction, no more wifi issues, and more materials available for use. Either way, Riverside Brookfield is happy to welcome students back to a somewhat normal school year.
RB updates dress code policy
Riverside Brookfield High School has returned to a fully in-person schedule for the 2021-2022 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some students, this school year is the first time they have been in the building since March of 2020. Considering these circumstances, RB administrators have updated the school dress code policy as the new school year settles in.
The new dress code is stated on page 40 of the student handbook:
“Students may wear:
- Hats facing straight forward or straight backward. Hats must allow the face to be visible to staff and not interfere with the sightline of any student or staff
- Religious headwear
- Headwear including but not limited to headscarves and bandanas
- Hoodie sweatshirts (wearing the hood overhead is allowed, but the face must be visible to the school staff)”
School dress codes have been a long-lasting, controversial debate for decades. Students and people globally have spoken out against school dress code policies due to its general bias against women and certain ethnic groups/cultures. It is now revealed after years of discussion that dress codes teach that young girls’ bodies are provocative, and it also teaches that their bodies are objects and a distraction.
“Generally speaking, this is the first year for the dress code to have undergone changes,” Assistant Principal Kylie Lindquist said. “The most significant changes would be the ability for students to wear hats and hoods, and that there is no longer any specific language about ‘female dress’ and what that may look like.”
The new dress code allows for female students to wear clothing items like spaghetti straps, crop tops, and other types of clothing as long as it is not deemed inappropriate, unsafe, or disruptive to the educational process.
“There are several other schools that are taking charge to stop making it a battle about what kids wear to school every day,” Lindquist said. “It now puts focus back on the learning, and letting kids have individualism by coming to school every day in what they feel comfortable in.”
RB administrators were influenced by other school’s decisions to update their dress code policies.
“In 2017, Evanston modified their dress code policy using a new model, and a lot of other schools in the area identified them as the ‘trendsetters,’” Assistant principal of student affairs, Dave Mannon said. “The basis for them to do that was to increase individuality and remove ethnic and cultural barriers students felt restricted towards.”
Even though RB administrators were keeping a close eye on how the modernized dress code affected other schools, they still waited on implementing the policy.
“I don’t think RB was ready at that point to implement the changes,” Mannon said. “But when COVID hit, it was a good time to spark that conversation again because when kids came back we didn’t want the first thing to have them hear from us be ‘take your hat off.’”
With the COVID-19 pandemic giving students a vast amount of time away from the building, the administration pulled the plug on the old dress code, and remodeled it to better represent the student body for when they returned.
“We want students to be comfortable, we want them to be unique, and it’s not about the dress it’s about how you feel and how we can make students learn better in their own choice of clothing,” Mannon said.
Classroom seating arrangements altered due to COVID-19 protocols
With school fully back in session, meaning full days, and full classrooms, the seating arrangement can cause some chaos in classrooms. Some classrooms are at maximum capacity.
The Illinois mask mandate was taken into effect on Monday 8/23, which includes wearing masks full time in enclosed buildings and having a 3 foot mandate. The new mask mandate “which states that everyone over 2 years old must wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, begins Monday.” NBC Chicago News said.
Some of the classrooms at Riverside Brookfield High School are at maximum capacity. In other words, classroom seats are closer than they should be along with the students. Teachers and students generally want to stay in school like normal, if desks keep violating state mandates, and students and staff continue to wear their masks improperly, there is a high possibility that we will have to go back to online learning. With the delta variant in the United States, it is important to enforce wearing masks the proper way.
COVID-19 and the new variant are on the rise. “The CDC’s updated figures for the week ending July 31, show the delta variant, including its sub-lineages, all of which are classified as variants of concern, made up more than 93 percent of all U.S. cases during the last two weeks of July.” said News said. The security guards at RBHS offer masks as soon as you walk into the building. They also enforce the three foot mandate or “stay three feet apart”.
There isn’t much RB administration can do about the amount of students in classrooms, however, the community can keep encouraging students and staff to wear their masks properly and maintain an appropriate distance from one another.