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The New Normal: A Thistle Article

The new normal was something we all had to get used to this year. Once seen as fear-mongering and unnecessary, wearing masks has become an integral part of our everyday lives. The mastermind behind it all was Assistant Head of School, Mr. Courtenay Shrimpton. I interviewed Mr. Shrimpton to hear his story on how he came up with the “new normal,” and some of his thoughts on the matter.

JZ: What was the thought process behind designing the “new normal,” and what factors did you have to consider?

CS: The thought process behind the “new normal” was that it was insufficient to have a general plan for confronting the challenges of COVID-19 at school, but a detailed plan was needed that examined all of the very real and challenging specifics of being back at school. I phrased it during the process as we need to know where every person is, every minute of the day, and how we will keep them safe.

JZ: What were some challenges that you had to overcome while planning?

CS: None really; we have a great team. All of this had to be done by Zoom, so there were challenges there. Also, not everyone was involved in the planning process, so we needed to hear their voices once it was published.

JZ: Are you satisfied with the students’ performance? What are some things that can change?

CS: The students overall have been fabulous. I am always concerned with sports and also the impression that once someone is outside that they don’t have to physically distance. They do.

JZ: What are your thoughts on the rising cases of COVID-19 in Ontario? Will the school be shut down?

CS: The school will only be closed if we don’t do our part, each one of us, both here on campus and in our lives at home, to ensure that we are mitigating, practicing sanitization and good hygiene, and wearing masks effectively. It requires selflessness and caring for others. I hope we have those things in abundance.

Most people dislike the new normal, myself included. Masks are hot and uncomfortable, sports are not as enjoyable, and the lunch lines seems to drag on forever. But I believe that there are a lot of positive takeaways from the new normal that we should keep when the pandemic ends. Hand sanitizer dispensers should stay; our increased use of sanitizer is not only effective against COVID-19 but other viruses and bacteria, as well. People showing cold or flu symptoms should wear masks and socially distance. The importance of handwashing should be continually emphasized.

In some ways, the new normal improved our lives. In our efforts to avoid a serious disease like COVID-19, smaller and less harmful diseases are being avoided as well. There is a greater emphasis on mindfulness and mental health. There is a greater emphasis on personal hygiene and well-being. Whether we like it or not, the new normal will have a lasting impact on the school. Hopefully, we can maintain these positive aspects in the future.

Story by Jason Zhang '21

Creativity is celebrated in the English classroom at St. Andrew’s. Students write short stories, experiment with poetry, or try their hand at scriptwriting. They are encouraged to share their work with the extended SAC community by publishing their work on the arts and literary magazine website, The Thistle
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St. Andrew's College
15800 Yonge Street, Aurora, ON L4G 3H7 Canada
Tel: 905-727-3178