What to expect when students return to Westside for face to face school days


Mr. Tyrone Davis

When staff and students return to Westside in October, they will find the Commons looking very different. Gone are the tables, replaced with desks, where students will wait in the morning, and freshmen will have lunch.

The past six months, school buildings have been closed, and students have on computer screens and phones participating in their classes virtually. But it’s about to change, because, finally, HISD will be opening Westside for the optional face to face instruction on October 19! Parents had a decision to make.  September 21 to September 28, parents logged to HISD Connect to choose for their children, if they were to be going back to school face to face or to remain virtual. It was reported in the Houston Chronicle that an estimate of 41% of students throughout the district chose face to face. Houston’s COVID-19 status means returning to a school building will come with restrictions and consequences, creating a different way of schooling than what students and parents have been used to. Lara Kelly, a sophomore at Westside describes why she chose face to face and what led her to make her decision. “I miss my friends and the life I had 5 months ago.  I was happy then and now I’ll do anything to get my life back, even though there’s major consequences.”

Before Westside closed it’s doors March 12, 2020, students were used to having fun, hanging out with friends, and interacting with one another. Due to necessary restrictions,  that is not how it is going to be for the foreseeable future. Masks will be required during school at all times, The only exception will be during lunch. A major protocol, we’ve all become used to will be social distancing. Students will go into  a classroom with desks over 6 feet apart. The bell schedule will not change, only tweaks to accommodate teachers and students on campus. One change for students, will be the during Office Hours.  Students will spend their office hour time with their 4th or 5th period teacher.    Lunch we look and feel different as well. Freshmen will eat in socially distanced desks in the commons, while upperclassmen will be outside in the courtyard, or under the outdoor basketball court canopy.  No students will be off campus during lunch.

Westside will be a transformed school. Seeing familiar faces everyday will be an exception, as many students have opted to remain virtual for the 2nd six weeks. Getting used to the rules and expectations facing students this year will be a challenge. But all the changes have been done with safety in mind.

To everybody going back to school be sure to wear your masks and have your hand sanitizer handy!