By Caitlin Spora and Grace Pawsey
Since returning from school after the explosion of COVID-19 around the country, Loreto Normanhurst, and the boarding school in particular has made major changes that affect the everyday lives of students. Upon returning to boarding after spending the last 2-3 weeks of Term 1, as well as the first 2-3 weeks of Term 2 learning from home, we initially weren’t too sure what the new ‘normal’ would look like in the boarding school.
To say the least, there have been some considerable changes to life in the boarding school, but such changes have allowed for the boarding house to reopen and return to school, which all boarders are no-doubt grateful for.
Right now, the boarding school is looking very different than it did at the start of the year. Now, each year group has a set breakfast and dinner time, rather than having a vertical system with girls from all year groups on each table. There are 2-3 people per table in the same assigned seats each day so that we are following social distancing measures, and the food is prepackaged or served for us rather than it being self-serve.
Recess is collected during breakfast, and it comes in a brown paper bag containing a piece of fruit and a snack. The only flaw is that you don’t know what you're getting! If you get the dodgy piece of fruit then that's just too bad, because you can’t choose the fruit yourself or swap it out for another one.
Lunch is also prepackaged but is served on the veranda during lunch. There is always the lunch item, and a salad as well as some fruit if you're still hungry.
Upon returning to the boarding school in the afternoon, we have to line up after washing our hands, before being asked a series of questions before getting our temperature checked in order to ensure that everyone is in peak health. Our water bottles are also collected for washing everyday, usually straight after school, but on weekends is washed around dinner time.
Once back in the dorms, we have to change out of our uniform before heading outside for afternoon tea at 3:30pm, then staying outside from 3:45pm to 4:45pm to make sure we are exercising and getting fresh air.
Another change occurred in study, as the times and locations have changed for each year group to maintain social distancing, and to accompany the new dinner sittings that are now separated over a two-hour block with 4 sittings, rather than a two-hour block with 2 sittings.
In each dorm, each student is allocated a specific shower, toilet and sink with a few other girls to help ensure cross-contamination doesn’t occur and so that the contact between borders can be monitored in case of sickness.
The common rooms are also closed unless supervised by the dorm supervisor, where the use of most kitchen appliances and food storage cannot be accessed to reduce contact.
Although some of these changes still need some time to get used to, the boarding house continues to work together to make sure that everyone is staying both mentally and physically healthy. Despite being socially distanced, we still remain a strong and united community.