Students consider benefits, challenges of returning to two sessions in SSRT


Jillian Moore

Starting this semester, this school has returned to two sessions in Student Support Resource Time (SSRT). Students can now visit two teachers’ classrooms during an SSRT class, as opposed to last semester when they could only visit one classroom as a COVID-19 precaution. 

Sophomore Sara Steadman said school leaders made a good choice by changing SSRT because they listened to students’ input.

“I know there have been a few surveys that have been sent out by the school asking students how they can help them in their academics and how they’re feeling about the way things are running,” she said.

Assistant Principal Amy Skeens-Benton said students have followed COVID-19 restrictions and made two SSRT sessions possible.

“But the real reason why we were able to is our student behavior has just been phenomenal during these changes. Kids are wearing their masks, they’re social distancing and we’re not having to deal with kids that (test positive) getting other kids sick during the school day because kids are following all the rules. It’s been awesome,” she said.

Still, Assistant Principal Brittany Wiseman said the one-session SSRT had benefits for students and remains a viable option for the school.

“We may, in the future, go back to one session. Not only was it because of contact tracing, but it was also because we found that some people were just roaming around and kind of taking advantage of the two sessions and not truly using that two session time,” she said. “So we thought, ‘Okay, if you have one session you could really get some quality time with one teacher.’”

Steadman, who went into quarantine over winter break, said two sessions of SSRT helps students returning from quarantine by giving them the opportunity to take in-person tests or quizzes and receive academic support. However, she added the school’s policies regarding COVID-19 could improve.

“I think cons could be that there could obviously be more spread of the virus because you’re seeing more people than you would on a normal day,” Steadman said.

Wiseman said the school will continue to use paper SSRT passes and Google forms, which will act as a mode of contact tracing should the school’s social distancing policies fail. 

“They’re still going to have to (use the passes and Google forms) because even though you are six feet apart, we want to know where everyone is,” Wiseman said. “One, it’s a safety issue, but two, let’s say (some people) aren’t six feet apart. We do need to have the ability to do that contact trace.” 

Skeens-Benton said the staff and students’ combined efforts to stay safe during the pandemic have made this SSRT change possible. 

“Student behavior has been the best it’s ever been in the 27 years that I’ve been here,” she said. “Student behavior, how they’re treating each other, treating teachers and behaving has been commendable.”