Another School Year, Another Covid Strain



Differences of Last Year and This Year

Entering the 2021-2022 school year with masks covering our faces and social distancing guidelines still in order, there are differences between last year and this year at Harriton with a new strand on our hands.

In-person classes started in March last year with Zoom still in place, but now, staying online is not an option. Parents received emails from the district that shared the only reasons to tune in on a computer this year is if a student is confirmed home for an extended amount of time, or if the shortage in bus drivers affects their ride to school. Additionally, weekends last year had an extra day, with office hours and online advisory taking up Fridays. However, now Fridays are back and follow a normal school schedule. A Harriton advisory teacher shared that she and other teachers wished current Fridays were “more flexible” like they were last year, and students agreed.


Lunch & Learn

For the confused freshmen and sophomores, Lunch and Learn is a 1-hour space in the middle of the school day where students can enjoy their lunch while going to teachers for help in any coursework. There are two Learns, Learn 1 and Learn 2, that take 30 minutes each (keep on the lookout for teacher announcements on Learn availability). 

Additionally, students will have more flexible seating options, not limited to the courtyard, cafeteria, or gym. 



As the school year came to a close in June, there was news that masks could be optional with vaccination this school year. However, over the summer a new strain of Covid-19, the Delta Variant, rescinded the optional mask order. The potency and contagious trait of this strain is severe, making appropriate mask wearing necessary for maintaining a safe school environment. 

One difference is that masks are not required when outdoors, as outlined by CDC guidelines. This includes during gym classes that take place outdoors, as well as after-school sports, however masks are still advised outside if within a 6 foot radius of others.



With this exception, athletes can be mask-free during practices and games. This does not let them off the hook entirely since masks are still required to see the trainer or while indoors for other purposes. In addition, they are to be worn on the bus to games to ensure the safety of the bus driver, teammates, and coaches. 

During winter and spring sports last school year, student-athletes were to take weekly Covid tests, provided by the school. This mandate is not in place for fall sports as of now, but as last year has shown, the future of Covid is unpredictable.



Not only were school classes held on zoom last year, but so were Harriton clubs and organizations. Instead of being able to collaborate in person, students had to communicate through online messaging and meetings. This made sharing ideas and information more difficult, preventing event-based clubs like FBLA and DECA from fundraising. These clubs also struggled to recruit more members than in past years due to Ram Day being hosted on FlipGrid, where the only way that freshmen could learn about a club was through an online video. 

Now, Ram Day is back and kids were able to see the typical big posters with club information and sign-up sheets. Hopefully, these features enticed more students to sign up for a club that piqued their interest. This year, there is a greater chance for clubs to attend in-person events; such as debates which will be hosted in-person for clubs like Mock Trial and Speech & Debate, and academic clubs like TSA and Science Olympiad having in-person tournaments. 


Learning Center

Last year, an absence of a teacher meant that those students would report to the library for their period. Now the library is put to use for the Learning Center. This is similar to Lunch and Learn; but instead it caters to students with free periods or study halls in the middle of the day, who can go to the library to meet with a teacher that specializes in a certain subject.



Classrooms look different this year since the six feet distance policy could not be maintained with the return of all students to the building. The desks are still relatively separated, yet not to the extent they were in October 2020. Coursework is now being done more traditionally, with paper assignments and handouts, yet there are plenty of online utilities still being used across all classes. Office hours remain if needed on certain occasions, but they will not be anything like the online experience last year.


Although another school year has started with Covid guidelines still in effect, Harriton has started to revert to conventional routines in hope of a more traditional school year.