Reading, recess, and recreation are all activities that fill a Lower School student’s day. This school year, however, these tasks and experiences have taken a new form because of necessary precautions surrounding COVID-19. 

Teachers and faculty have done a wonderful job making these changes and transitions. On a foundational level, Lower School students typically stay with their specific class all day and do not intermix with other grades or classes. Students are separated from other classes for precautionary safety so that they are in contact with less people.

“I like to think of our classroom as a one-room schoolhouse,” said Mrs. Karen Dierberger, a second grade teacher. 

If students are unable to come to school, an effect of having viral symptoms or taking precautionary measures for the sake of family members, they participate in SimulClassroom. With this new technology, students are able to log onto Google Meet and participate in their classes via a camera and television located in the back of each room. 

Simul Classroom technology, including a TV and camera located in the back of Mrs. Dierberger’s classroom, which allows students to participate in class from home.

Lunch looks different this year as well- many students eat in their classrooms, while some still eat in the Great Room. Mrs. Dierberger’s second grade students eat in their classroom. Mrs. Trombley and the aids deliver hot lunches to students who have ordered school meals for lunch. The Great Room also has tables spread apart so that students can sit six feet apart from one another. 

Second Grade students Wells Martin and Kail Wiatrowski smile brightly while they eat lunch in Mrs. Dierberger’s classroom.

The most exciting part of any Lower School student’s day is recess. As classes do not intermix with one another very often, they rotate their recess location every day. These locations include the sidewalk, soccer fields, and playground. 

Henry Hilberg, a fourth grade student, commented on this new setup, “During recess two classes go on the field and one goes to the playground so we can see our friends a little. But I miss seeing them more often.”

Calvin Connelly, a second grade student of Mrs. Farniock, also enjoys his time at recess each day. He revealed that his favorite activity to play during this free time is football, a popular interest among the second graders.

Students are also required to wear masks for the majority of their school day. Mrs. Dierberger commented, “It’s very challenging to remind them to wear their masks, but they are actually pretty good at reminding each other.” 

Students get to have mask breaks during water breaks, recess, gym class, and lunch. 

While there have been many challenges this year, Mrs. Dierberger still sees the positive in her classroom. “I like being with my students for larger chunks of time, as there is more continuity in the day.” 

In the midst of mask-wearing and social distancing, the Lower School is surely finding ways to stay together, six feet apart.