Administration focuses on how to navigate hybrid instruction, school events during winter months


Principal Tom Harmas sits at his desk while wearing a mask to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. He said that although the colder weather will make it harder for certain activities to take place, he still thinks this school’s plan to combat the effects of the pandemic will be successful in the winter.

Rhea Acharya

Principal Tom Harmas said many of his current day-to-day responsibilities center around developing plans for how the school will function during the winter months with the ongoing pandemic.
 Harmas said that as the weather gets colder, it will be harder for events to be hosted outside or for teachers to teach outside. However, he said that he doesn’t anticipate this to have a big impact on the school day.
“At this point, the (colder weather) inhibits us. But as all the (desks) are six feet apart and the lunchroom (tables are) six feet apart, we’ve really set ourselves up for as much success as we can possibly have,” Harmas said. “I’m not sure any further changes are necessary. If we find anything that needs to be changed, we’ll move right away. We’ve created an environment where we can be successful and kids can be healthy and so can teachers. That’s the environment we want to keep.”
However, Harmas said one change is that as the school used up all its built-in snow days at the beginning of the year, administration is currently planning to turn snow days into fully virtual days should the need for one arise. He also said that delays due to snow will probably last for only one hour as opposed to two hours as the school day anyway starts one hour later this year.
Harmas said administration is now starting to create schedules for second semester as most families have already chosen a learning option for next semester and is also finalizing the details for the end of this semester.
He said he just finished working with other administrators to develop a new schedule for finals week so that students do not lose out on either study time or synchronous instruction time. In order to accomplish that goal, he said there will be no office hours during finals week this semester.
In addition, Harmas said he has been talking with administration about how the school can host traditional events, such as Dance Marathon, prom or graduation, next semester. However, he said that it doesn’t make sense to devote a lot of time toward planning those events right now, as no one knows what the situation will be like in 2021.
Student body president Julia Heath said that she is looking ahead to winter and the second semester of this year, and she said she is thinking about ways to modify events so they can be hosted in a safe manner under COVID-19 guidelines. She said the Senate still plans on organizing the Brain Games and March Madness competitions during SRT. She also said some events with closer in-person interaction, such as the Winter Dance, may be modified or canceled depending on the circumstances regarding COVID-19 next semester.
Overall, Heath said she wants to look past COVID-19 and find ways to safely make the most out of her senior year.
She said, “COVID-19 won’t stop me from loving my senior year. Obviously, I’m following all guidelines but I’m trying not to look at that as my main thing in my senior year.”