By Morgan Taylor, Reporter
CHECOTAH, Oklahoma – With the fall semester closing in, many schools have started back. Some have taken a virtual approach this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some schools have returned to a classroom setting.
According to Checotah high school senior Malachi Harris the traditional setting is not so traditional his year. Like that of most schools, Checotah was let out for spring break in mid-March and did not return for the remainder of the school year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Checotah Public Schools started the 2020-2021 school year on Aug 13.
“The last time we were at school was March 13,” Harris said. “I missed my friends and being able to play football.”
Harris claims he is excited about attending school this year and does not feel nervous about going.
“It is different because we do have to wear masks and use social distancing,” Harris said. “During lunch some people have to go at different times and have to find different places to sit.”
When it comes to having the choice, Harris said he would choose going to school over a virtual learning program. Regardless of a traditional school setting, some things are still undecided like that of homecoming according to Harris.
“I am somewhat worried about having to miss the next half of the year,” Harris said. “I would have to miss track and prom.”
Harris and his mother Michelle Jones claim that Checotah Public Schools did offer an option for virtual learning but required athletes to attend traditional school to be able to participate in sports activities. That being said, a majority of students returned for the traditional school this year at Checotah.
“I would feel better if he could do virtual,” Jones said of her son. “But in order to play sports they were required to go traditional. I made sure he had extra masks and hand sanitizer.”
Jones does not want her son to miss out on the memories and activities of being a high school senior.
“Him being involved in sports and it being his senior year, traditional school is something he has to do unless the town closes down again,” Jones said. “He worked so hard to get where he’s at I’d hate to see it disappear. Like last year, most of the kids did not get to receive their scholarships because they didn’t get to play their senior sports.”
Jones works in healthcare so she is familiar with the situation at hand.
“At school they have implemented sanitization more by putting hand sanitizer at the end of each hall and having a station right when you walk in the door,” Jones said. “You can’t miss it.”
Jones and Harris say other than starting school a little later than normally scheduled, masks wearing, and sanitization, they hope the school year is as normal as possible.