- Current Events
COVID-19 brought forth many challenges to the way our school has had to operate this year. From changes in the lunch line and a lack of sports competitions to a completely new everyday class schedule, almost everything needed to be altered this year to keep everyone safe. Many schools decided to stay virtual, but the staff at Perkiomen concluded that staying in school was the best option; however, tackling the plans for the year was no easy feat.
This year has certainly brought forth many challenges to the way school has had to operate. From changes in the lunch line and a lack of sports competitions to a completely new everyday class schedule, almost everything needed to be altered this year to keep everyone safe. Many schools decided to stay virtual, but the staff at Perkiomen concluded that staying in school was the best option; however, tackling the plans for the year was no easy feat. In October, I spoke with Ms. Goupil about how the planning for this year went and what the process was like.
The plans for this year were created by Perkiomen’s “Task Force.” This is a group of administrators who got together and created the plans for the 2020/2021 school year and have been making changes throughout the year as well. Over the summer, they met multiple times a week over Zoom and shared their ideas, and reviewed the suggestions from the CDC and St. Luke’s Hospital. Ms. Goupil said, “We also worked really closely with St. Luke's Hospital and with their disease specialist, to come up with all of our plans. Then for other more specific things, for example, athletics, we were looking to those organizations, and also to the Department of Health, and to some athletic organizations as well.”
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there were many challenges. Scientists have been conducting continuous research on COVID-19, and the guidelines are constantly changing. This can be frustrating planning for the school year because they had to constantly edit their plans. Ms. Goupil stated, “The biggest challenge was that information was changing really quickly. We were all working really hard to come up with plans with the information we knew at the moment, and keeping up on all of that, and then making changes as we go.” Also, due to the unpredictability, they had to take risks, and see what would happen. “Once the school year started just seeing what was working and what wasn't working,” she said. "That was the test.”
Even through all of those challenges, Ms. Goupil still had lots of hope for this school year. She hoped that the community would come together, after being separated for so long. She believes that the community here is the best part of our school. “I would say you could go down the list and say we have great academics, we have great sports offerings, we have nice facilities, you know all of those pieces that lots of other schools can say that they have, and do have. But that number one, is that sense of community, and being a global community, and being able to be who you are, and fit into that community,” Ms. Goupil said.
Now that the year is almost over, I decided to check in with Ms. Goupil again, and reflect on how this year has gone. When asked “Did this school year match your expectations?” and “ Have all of your goals been met?” She said that she wasn’t exactly sure what her expectations were because things were changing so rapidly. She wrote, “We all knew we wanted to be back together as a school community and that we needed to keep safety top of mind. I think overall, that goal has been met for me.”
There were still drawbacks during the year, like having to be all spread out. Ms. Goupil said that was probably her biggest drawback. We had to be scattered for many reasons, but she is proud of the students and faculty for continuing to work hard and still maintaining that strong community.
There were many accomplishments this year as well. Ms. Goupil’s biggest accomplishment was how, even over Zoom and behind masks, "We were still able to keep connections with others, and even make new ones! The days where we learned and laughed together felt like the biggest win. And then I also feel really good about being able to carry on some of our traditions and even to have created new ones.”
Even though the year is coming to a close, there are still so many things to look forward to: nicer weather, summer vacation, award ceremonies, and fun traditions. COVID-19 research is also being performed continuously, and people are starting to get vaccines. That is one thing that makes Ms. Goupil hopeful. She is also looking forward to finally having some in-person events this year. “We are still making shifts and adjustments to everything, but I am excited that we can gather together for a Prom, for the Cultural Festival, and Graduation Events.”