NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — For a lot of students, many haven’t been inside a classroom since March. For those who are returning to school amid the pandemic, it will look a lot different than when they left it.
North Branford High School has decided to fully reopen and welcome nearly 500 students back on Sept. 8.
Assistant Principal Greg Gwudz gave News 8 a walking tour of the building. He showed us the new additions to help keep the school up to par with COVID-19 regulations.
Each hallway that runs throughout the school is divided in half with tape, separating the traffic and identifying the one-way walking direction designations.
Signs have been put up reminding students and staff about social distancing, washing hands, and wearing masks properly.
Additionally, Gwudz tells us, “we formed our own North Branford High School reopening team.” The team worked throughout the summer to come up with a 30-page reopening plan for the school.
Often times throughout the summer the plan had to be revised and Gwudz suspects once the students come back into the school the plans will need to be revised again in order to keep everyone safe.
Aside from decreasing class sizes, changing the schedule, and organizing the hallways, Gwudz says another main focus was establishing areas for lunch.
The cafeteria at North Branford High School usually holds 200 students. With social distancing guidelines, only 58 students can safely eat in the cafeteria at once.
The small number forced them to transform the gym into an overflow cafeteria, in which they can now fit about 70 students safely for their lunch period.
“We weren’t thinking that we would set up a cafeteria in the gym,” Gwudz told News 8.
It’s a year unlike any other, calling for new ideas and innovative ways to keep staff and students safe.
Gwudz emphasizes how important it will be to continuously adapt throughout the pandemic: “You know, we’re going to have challenges but I think the way we approach it is we listen and make changes as we go and we’re constantly listening. As long as we do that, everyone’s going to feel OK.”