Chapman prepares for return to five-day school week


An example of the plexiglass that will be installed in all classrooms.

Beginning on Nov. 23, Chapman students will return to a normal, 5-day schedule. 

“It’s going to be like another first day of school, and it’s going to require a lot of patience,” Principal Andrew McMillan said. “This is unlike any situation we’ve ever had to deal with.”

The biggest change in the classrooms will be the installation of plexiglass dividers between desks. According to the newest DHEC recommendations, if students wear a mask in addition to having the plexiglass dividers, they can be 3 feet apart as opposed to 6. 

McMillan emphasized that even though there will be dividers, students will still have to be vigilant about wearing masks. Where some classrooms may have previously had enough room for students to space out and safely remove masks, they will now have to stay on throughout the day. 

There will be some changes to the schedule as well, to help space out the larger number of students. 

“We’re going to add a lunch to help with crowding, and we’re going to do some different things in the mornings,” McMillan said. “We’re leaning towards letting students go to their first block at 7:45 as a kind of flex time.”

With the countless changes taking effect, communication from administration to students and parents has become vital. 

“Our success has been because we’ve done a good job communicating,” McMillan said. “That’s why we started sharing a lot of our mask policies in late July and August; we really hit Instagram hard to start telling the kids when and where they’ll have to wear the masks.”

The drastic impacts of COVID-19 have made for an extremely unique school year, and, although Chapman can’t safely go back to total normalcy, McMillan noted that there are now more opportunities to find creative ways to mix some more fun into this school year. 

“It hurts as a school that does a lot of things together to not have that sense of community,” McMillan said. “There’s a certain level of fun that you need to mix in that we’ve tried to keep up, but we’ve been limited.”

Most students have tried to make the best out of this unusual year, and it’s that willingness to look at the positives and cooperate with teachers and administrators that has helped Chapman gradually work its way towards this 5-day week. 

“We’ve been able to keep up the sense of school spirit, but there’s just something about an awesome pep rally and what it adds to the high school experience that just can’t be replaced,” McMillan said. “This place is not the same without everybody here, but we still have to be careful.”

More information will be shared via Chapman’s various social media platforms as details are finalized.