The “New” Old Normal

As the new school year kicks off, masks and dividers have been discarded, much to students’ affinity.


Ellie Jones

Classes are back to normal.

“I feel like I’m able to connect more with my classmates,” said Alexis Hackmann, sophomore. Hackmann is one of many Westminster students eager to get back in the classroom under two conditions: mask-free and divider-free. Another factor Westminster is bringing back is lunch; However, lunch is substantially longer this year. Jumping from a 30 minute to a 45 minute social hour every single day, excluding Wednesdays. 

“I’m excited to be a senior this year without all of the COVID guidelines, being able to enjoy all of the activities and fun things we do,” said Payton Mathews, senior. “To be mask-free and not having to utilize dividers is extremely helpful because I feel like I am able to focus more, along with being more active.”

Within the walls of the academy this year, the school day appears to be filled with more laughter than last year. The social interaction has increasingly progressed as no face coverings allow for more facial expression and lack of social barrier making communication strikingly easier and more exciting. 

As juniors and seniors, leaving campus is allowed during lunch, as well as study hall like years past. Meaning if you have study hall before or after lunch hour, a junior or senior can be absent from campus for an hour and 45 minutes, 4 days a week.

“It’s great to be able to go wherever we want during lunch, whether that’s outside in the parking lot or going to eat somewhere,” said Mathews. Students are also able to eat in the hub, classrooms (if teachers allow), and outside on the plaza during lunch hour, providing more space in the cafè for the underclassmen. 

One of the perks despite many downfalls last year was the extremely relaxed dress code. However, there is much certainty in the statement that the dress code is the complete opposite of casual this year.

“So far the dress code is slightly more strict than last year,” said Mathews. “There are a few teachers that are more strict than others, meaning others are more relaxed, which is nice.” Pieces that have quickly proven to be prohibited during the school day are t-shirts, colored leggings, or non-Westminster sweatshirts. 

Overall, this year, so far, presents itself as promising for a normal school year- more normal, at least, than last year. More Westminster traditions, such as homecoming and unlimited spectators at sporting events, are brought back creating buzz throughout the halls among students. All one could possibly hope for is that it remains constant, no online school, no dividers, and most importantly: no mask mandates.