Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Pasco

Students return, if only for a moment, to clean out their lockers

Strict social distancing rules were in force, as schools remain closed through the summer.
Sunlake High School senior Anna Nelson, 18, returns textbooks after cleaning out her locker Tuesday. Students hadn't been inside the school since spring break in March because of COVID-19.
Sunlake High School senior Anna Nelson, 18, returns textbooks after cleaning out her locker Tuesday. Students hadn't been inside the school since spring break in March because of COVID-19. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]
Published May 26, 2020

Classes are all but over, the school year a memory, though quite an unusual one.

The time had come for Pasco County high schools to open their doors to students once more, so they could return their textbooks and retrieve the items they left behind weeks ago when they departed for spring break, not knowing they wouldn’t return for classes the rest of the semester.

The rules were strict.

Students had to wear a mask, maintain social distancing from others and not stop to chat with anyone they might encounter. Everyone had 15 minutes inside. Only eight people were allowed in each building at a time.

With enrollments ranging between 1,200 and 2,200 students, that would take some time. Most campuses planned four days to get the process done.

At Sunlake High in Land O’Lakes, like most others, seniors went first.

It wasn’t an easy experience for everyone. These seniors, after all, had already missed out on prom and grad bash.

Commencement is slated to be virtual — June 6 for Sunlake — with the hope of something more traditional in late summer.

“I just feel emotionally numb,” said Anna Nelson, 18, as she returned textbooks after clearing her locker. “It shouldn’t be like this but it’s something we can’t control — so I don’t know how to feel.”

Sara Boatman, 17, brought her father, Allen, to help gather her things she left at Sunlake High before spring break.
Sara Boatman, 17, brought her father, Allen, to help gather her things she left at Sunlake High before spring break. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

Sara Boatman, 17, had been gone long enough that she struggled to recall her locker combination. She finally got it open on the fourth try, with some help from her dad, Allen.

She found the entire activity surreal.

“Its like a pandemic movie. It’s so weird how everything is so empty," Boatman said. "Being here on a Tuesday at 8:00 a.m., it should be full of people and I should be in second or third period right now.”

Instead, it was a quick in and out for these seniors. Underclassmen will get to experience the scenario over the next few days.