By Lily Belcher
With the first semester of the 2020-21 school year in Hillsborough County seeing the implementation of a number of Coronavirus protocols and procedures that were new to both administrators and students, Hillsborough County students began the second half of the 2020-21 school year on Tuesday, January 19.
For many semester one brick-and-mortar students, they experienced very few changes to daily life at school. But those coming back from four months of e-learning transitioned from doing math homework in their beds to being at a socially distanced desk with a mask on.
“This year, without a doubt, has been one to remember for both the challenges it has brought and the opportunities it has provided,” Superintendent Addison Davis said in a letter to parents and students of Hillsborough County. “I am so proud of the hard work and flexibility demonstrated by our students, families and district employees during the first semester.”
The county schools will continue to follow updated CDC guidelines, including a new 10-day quarantine period rather than 14 days, to ensure the health of its students and staff. Many students look forward to transferring from e-learning to brick-and-mortar because they benefit from the more rigid structure of physical learning, such as Brandon High School junior Ethan Stretchberry.
“Honestly, [e-learning] was really hard. [It] seemed easy at first, but as the semester [continued] I just fell into my own laziness and was so uninspired in my house alone. Overall, I got decent grades, but compared to real school, very difficult,” said Stretchberry.
Students returning to schools will also have the option of attending more socially distanced extracurricular activities, such as drama program performances, chorus concerts and other student performances. Performers and spectators will be required to wear masks during both indoor and outdoor performances and encouraged to use hand sanitizer frequently.
Athletic programs will continue to follow phase three guidelines. The addition of these activities gives students an increasing sense of normalcy and a chance to safely spend time with their friends while supporting their classmates.
For more information on students’ return to schools in the second semester, visit https://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/.