Not Your Average First Day of School


Valerie Parker

Courtesy of Valerie Parker

Abby Thomas '23

On August 24, students and faculty arrived on the Hilltop for the first time after almost six months. It was wonderful to see everyone, but due to extensive COVID-19 restrictions, it wasn’t a typical first day of school.

Rigorous protocols have been set in place to protect all of our students and faculty members while remaining safe and following COVID-19 guidelines. Students and teachers have to wear masks and practice social distancing both inside and outdoors. The hallways have been split down the middle, to create one-way paths. There are plastic partitions on every table, middle cushions have been removed from the library, and there are hand sanitizer dispensers all around the building. These changes can be annoying, but they are necessary.

The first half of the school day was dedicated to welcoming the new and returning Middle Schoolers, and the Upper School arrived in the afternoon. Mentors were the first to arrive, and they were in charge of greeting new students and taking them on a tour of their classrooms. Once tours were complete and everyone was settled in, students mingled and discussed the new protocols in advisory and class meetings.

In order to give students a break from their masks, there was a lot of outdoor time throughout the day. This gave students free time to hang out with their friends and safely take a mask break. Because the administration brought in a company to set up and run games, the upper field was transformed into a game center, with dozens of activities set up. There was even a mini golf station! 

Though many new guidelines are in place, students have been able to look on the bright side. Marissa Kramer ‘23 said she “was excited to see everybody and… was excited to be back in school,” while Sammi Livieri ‘23 commented that she “was excited to see all [her] friends but [she] was nervous for the outcome of this year.” 

This year is very different than past years. The entire dynamic of school has had to change. With longer classes and an extended passing time, there are less periods in a day with more free time. While most of these changes are positive, it is undoubtedly more difficult to maneuver around the school with the added protocols. As a school community we aren’t used to wearing masks all day, so that change is probably the hardest. As Mrs. Abbott added, the first day of school was a “cortisol rollercoaster!”

This school year is far from ordinary, and St. Luke’s must adjust to new ways of learning. We are all in this together, and though it’s difficult, we will make it through. One day, we won’t have to wear masks everywhere we go.