Marshall Co. Middle School Student Shares Expectations For In-Person School Year Amid COVID-19
This story is a part of a series WKMS is publishing this week on school reopenings in west Kentucky amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most schools in western Kentucky have opted for online instruction only, but some students in Marshall County Schools have masks, lockers and socially-distanced classrooms in their near future. Trinlee Anderson, 13, at South Marshall Middle School is one of some 320 students returning to in-person classes Wednesday.
Trinlee said she’s both excited and nervous for the school year. She said she would finish her assignments early during NTI, or non-traditional instruction, when in-person classes were suspended last semester because of COVID-19.
“I’m not a procrastinator, so I got everything done very quickly. And so I didn’t like it because I would get everything done in the span of two to three hours, and then I would have the rest of the day to just do nothing because we couldn’t do anything,” Trinlee said.
She said she thinks she’ll like this school year better than NTI.
“I’m very excited to get to see all my friends again, and I’m taking some higher level classes...so I’m excited to figure out how well I’m going to do in that.”
Trinlee’s mom is a teacher and her dad is a principal, so she’s pretty well versed on the theory of what to expect from the school year. That includes class time she calls “AA”, which she describes as an “enrichment” period for reading and studying.
“So normally classes last year were 47 minutes long, and now they’re going to be an hour. And so normally we have seven periods and AA,” Trinlee said. “We’re only going to have six periods and no AA this year. And also our cafeteria is set up- there’s like a bunch of desks and they’re all six feet apart.”
Trinlee said they’re also not allowed to have binders or folders. Students will be assigned lockers, but locker decorations are prohibited. The required school supplies are minimal this year and include hand sanitizer, a personal tissue box and a clear, reusable water bottle because water fountains can’t be used. Masks are required, and though she likes wearing them to protect others, Trinlee said they’re uncomfortable.
“They hurt my ears but that’s the only thing that I’m just not looking forward to,” she said.
Trinlee also plays first and third base on her school’s softball team. She said the season has been cut short because of the virus, and the team typically would’ve already played several games by now.
“I think normally we have like 15 games, which actually is 30 because we have two each time we go somewhere or home. So I think we’re only having 10 this season, and so that’s going to be different.”
She said the team socially distances as much as possible and checks temperatures. She also said they sanitize the softballs in between uses.
“I think they’re trying to keep it as normal as they can, but also as safe as they can.”
Trinlee’s favorite class is science. Last year, she even completed both sixth and seventh grade courses in the subject. She said she wants to be a neurosurgeon. As a future medical professional, she said the pandemic has taught her to be more careful.
“I’m definitely more aware of stuff like germs.”