Goodbye Masks, Hello Smiles

Senior Kalea Reeves studying in the learning commons during Empower Hour

Paige Hunt

Senior Kalea Reeves studying in the learning commons during Empower Hour

Paige Hunt, Staff Writer

Last week brought the start of a new school year, and with it, the start of new policies. As the COVID-19 virus continues to change, restrictions and regulations within the St. Dominic community have adapted as well.

The most noticeable difference between this year and last year is the near-absence of face masks. Masks were previously required to be worn at all times by anyone who entered the school. However, this year, students and faculty can choose whether or not to wear a mask.

A majority of students and faculty members have made the decision to leave their masks at home. However, for social sciences teacher Mrs. Honerkamp, wearing a mask became a priority once she found out she was pregnant.

“So far, COVID has not had a huge impact on my pregnancy, but I am definitely conscientious about wearing my mask to protect me and my baby,” Mrs. Honerkamp said.

Another difference is that all students are back to in-person learning. Last year, students had the option to “Zoom” into class if they were out sick or if they had to quarantine. A few students like senior Priyanka Mahadev, were virtual for the entire year.

Mahadev chose to do online learning last year to keep both herself and her family healthy. She is very grateful for the opportunity to be back at school after staying home for over a year.

“I am glad to be back in school which may sound strange, but the very first day of school, I couldn’t stop smiling because I was so ecstatic to be back. I’m looking forward to being back in a classroom because learning over zoom was definitely a struggle,” Mahadev said.

While Zoom may not entirely be a thing of the past, everyone is glad that the halls of St. Dominic are filled again as they enjoy the full high school experience.

Classroom learning is not the only thing that has gone back to normal. Empower Hour, the hour-long lunch and study period, has been reinstated. Now, all students are free to eat wherever and move around campus between their second and third classes.

“I’m so glad that Empower Hour is back because it gives me the opportunity to eat with my friends, and I can visit the learning commons when I need to get work done,” senior Kalea Reeves said.

Although there are likely more COVID related changes to come, this year promises many new opportunities, and we could not be more thrilled.