Unionville High School Goes Back to Almost-Normal Schedule


Jamie Keglovits

Students walk through Unionville High School as they return to a five-day schedule. Directional hallways are one way the school is reducing the potential of spreading the virus.

When the Chester County Health Department’s social distance regulation went down to three feet, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District (UCFSD) jumped at the chance to get their students learning in-person to give students a structured high school environment after not having one for over a year. On March 24, 2021, the Unionville Longhorns started in-person learning five days a week to give the students a glimpse of normalcy.

After being online for a year, some students will miss the comfort of rolling out of bed and starting school. Jamie Keglovits, a member of the junior class at Unionville High School shared her thoughts on the adjustment.

“It was hard to wake up earlier, to give myself driving time,” Keglovits said, “but I am preferring in-person learning because it is forcing me to focus and it is allowing me to perform better academically in a controlled environment.”

School is in session from 8 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. with no lunch, so no opportunity to take masks off. They are on a “Blue-Gold” scheduling model. This includes 4 classes a day on Blue days, and 3 classes on Gold Days, with a scheduled “Longhorn Time” in the morning for outdoor assemblies, help from a teacher, or just an opportunity for a later start.

“I am really grateful for the Gold days,” said junior Taylor Goodman, “because junior year can get pretty demanding, and a little extra sleep or just a mental break is nice.”

Going back full time comes with its challenges too. When UCFSD made the decision for Unionville High School to go back, they had to keep the virtual option open for students and staff exposed to the virus, people with health issues, or people who were not comfortable with their kids being around that many people.

Here is just one of the many signs posted around campus to keep students in check. (Jamie Keglovits)

One arising issue is that there can be a disconnect between the rest of the class and the online students. Emma Holt is a member of the senior class at Unionville, and she has opted for at-home learning.

“It’s definitely harder to participate and be involved in class because teachers are obviously going to look at the kids sitting in front of them versus the kids on the screen,” Holt said.

Another senior, Chloe Callahan, agreed that attending virtually was difficult.

“It is hard to be a virtual student because when you unmute to ask a question, sometimes you won’t get a response because the teacher is lecturing from a different spot in the classroom,” Callahan said.

Despite these hiccups, these students said they were still glad about more consistent meetings for their classes.

Unionville’s sports teams involve both virtual and in-person learners. They also decided on following the guidelines set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association in regards to masks while competing. The organization decided that all out door spring sports do not need masks while playing as long as they can be distanced. The virtual athletes are seen as “preserving their season” if they compete and opt to learn virtually.

“Having the ability to be on and participate in the Dance Team has helped me get through a daunting virtual senior year,” Holt said.

Going back to school required staff and students to work together to help enforce the rigid rules and regulations that help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In between every class, the teachers and students sanitize all of the desks and high- touch surfaces to try and minimize virus spread and presence as much as possible.

“The students, teachers, and janitorial staff are working extra hard to keep everything clean,” Keglovits said, “and to come together as a community.”