Me, prisoner of the wheeled benches – La Stampa

We publish the intervention of a 16-year-old girl, a student of a Roman high school who talks about her return to the classroom and the new rules imposed by Covid.

I was happy to be back in school after a long time. It was nice to see friends again, some of whom I hadn’t seen for over six months. A few days ago they sent us a table with the number of our classroom, the day and time we would enter. Upon arrival we had separate entrances, we were in single file spaced out by dots. A camera measured the temperature at all. We had to deliver a self-certification in which we declared that we had no symptoms of Covid. We will have to do this very often, at least every three days. It’s a hassle, but I understand it’s necessary. The whole school is full of arrows in the floors that indicate the ways to go in one direction only. When we got to the classroom we found new desks with wheels. In the floor there are yellow dots, so as to maintain the spacing. I didn’t think at first that it would be uncomfortable. To understand this, it was enough to have to make a note with a small notebook.

Once placed, there was just enough space for the pen and the mask. I don’t know what I will do when I have to keep a book or dictionary on the mobile desk. My left-handed friend is even more uncomfortable than me. Last year, in order not to carry too much weight, my classmate and I shared the books to carry. This year it won’t be possible, so many of us are thinking of getting an iPad as a gift to download books, and not everyone will have the money to do it. The wheels of the station move freely, which is annoying. Obviously, at the first change of the hour some of my male companions had a bumper car race.

The rules for going to the bathroom are very strict: you can go one at a time, and it is forbidden to wait outside the door. I still don’t understand how it can be avoided. When I ask the teacher to go, he or she will not know if I am outside the door. I expect the school to find a simpler solution. They gave us five surgical masks each, and we can only use those. They told us not to pass the pens, we can’t buy anything from the school machines.

For the moment we go to school every other day. Yesterday I did my first post-quarantine remote day. When the final time arrives we will do every other week. If that’s the price to pay to go back to school, I’ll make up for it. Now we also have a new platform for distance learning, but the first day was a disaster: many of us did not know how to use it, the first two hours were skipped and no one told us why.

I still don’t know what kind of year it will be, the kind of attitude that professors will have in the face of so many difficulties. Of one thing I’m sure: everyone – us and the professors – will respect these limitations in the hope of getting back to normal as soon as possible. For me it’s an unexpected feeling, since I’ve never really loved going to school.

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