One week has passed since Alcoa High School resumed session for the second semester of the school year. For the month of January, we will be continuing our previous schedule in which we operate at 50 percent occupancy by dividing students into two groups by last name and having each group attend class in-person twice a week while learning virtually the remaining three days.
In accordance with the guidelines passed by TSSAA and Governor Bill Lee, sporting events will be closed to students for the time being. In the meantime, those who express interest in viewing any sports games can do so from the comfort of their own homes. By taking advantage of the live streaming services offered by the new Alcoa Athletics YouTube channel, spectators can offer their support for AHS athletics while following the instated safety guidelines. At the moment, past basketball games are available for viewing. New games will be added as they occur.
Many clubs continue to operate with limited reach but are seeking out the opportunities currently available to them. DECA testing has been pushed back a week past its original date, but luckily members are able to compete in their events. Additionally, Science Bowl members are beginning to prepare for their upcoming competitions.
As anticipated, necessary restrictions continue to shape the final semester of the school year for students. As the graduation date for the Class of 2021 approaches, reminders such as those urging seniors to purchase their caps and gowns for May make the conclusion of high school seem realer than ever before. Many educators and students are optimistic that we will be able to return to full occupancy after the conclusion of January, but only time will tell. Hopefully, by abiding by a half occupancy schedule and recommended safety measures, the possibility of a full return will become more likely and students — especially seniors — will be able to complete the school year with as much normalcy as possible.
In any case, this year will be a memorable one, and it is ultimately up to us students to choose how to interpret our experience. While it has posed its fair share of challenges and disappointments, this school year has also strengthened our sense of perseverance and allowed us to understand who our true allies are. As 2021 progresses, much uncertainty lies ahead, but being a small school will work to our advantage if we students can band together and actively perform our individual roles in keeping each other as safe as possible.