School now has a new definition for me and, I believe, for the rest of Israeli students as well.
The new reality, which is severely affected by Covid-19, is definitely very different from what we knew before. My school, which is usually a strict place, now bends its rules in accordance .with ministry of education and ministry of health guidelines,
My first day back, which at first felt like the beginning of the school year in September, quickly changed into a weird scene with teachers wearing odd and sometimes amusing masks, kids who looked like they had showered in alcohol gel and many parts of the school closed off including bathrooms, water fountains, the cafeteria and the library. The area of the microwave ovens was off limits.
The first thing we did was to submit a form declaring we are healthy and other details. Walking in the halls was only permitted for specific reasons while wearing masks. Each class had its own hygiene materials including towels and alcohol gel containers, which were also available in the corridors.
Before getting settled in the classroom you needed to clean the desk and chair with alcohol gel. Arriving in class, one could feel the excitement in the air. Moving reunions with friends took place while paranoid kids kept their distance and looked on jealously. The only reason masks weren’t required during lessons was the extreme heat wave outside (38 degrees).
As predicted, a few kids did not arrive whether for medical reasons or their parents protesting against the new reality at school.
In the class, there were many instructions but the excitement was too big for the kids to bear. For once in their lives, the nerds at my nerdy school, did not obey the instructions.
While the classes began and the questions started to be asked, our hopes for more information about what is to come crashed. It was then that we understood that we were not the only ones left wondering.
Many things were forbidden like touching or hugging.During the breaks, keeping a distance of two meters from others was required. Meeting friends from other classes was not an option. Passing school supplies to fellow students was banned. You always had to keep a window open. The classroom needed to be ventilated.
Slowly it struck us that the school we remembered and had longed for was not the same school we knew.
- Alona Lynfield, 13, is in the seventh grade at a reputable Jerusalem school.