More Support Needed for Full Return to Campus


Photo courtesy of Grace Rickey.

Grace Rickey, Reporter

As the past formidable year has unraveled, students were left curious as to what finally returning in person would entail. With several controversies at hand pertaining to the return, such as the new Covid protocols and the wellness campus’ responsibilities, Novato High students have voiced their biggest concerns pertaining to feeling overwhelmed and lacking support from staff.

As our community copes with another devastating loss of a dear classmate, Lucas Talbott,  along with the aftermath of continuous isolation, students are waiting in anticipation regarding whether the school will potentially adjust protocols and procedure based on the evolution that’s occurred since March of 2020. As the culmination of issues have been so delicate and disparate, it’s challenging to find a common ground that’s helpful for every student’s unique needs. Staff and students alike are confused as to how to address and approach these various concerns while still maintaining a healthy academic environment. 

Senior Lily Tiller explained her perspective on Novato High’s wellness campus, as well as how the past 18 months have influenced it. 

“After being online for so long, it’s weird coming back and having everyone be like ‘Oh we’re just back to normal doing what we’ve always been doing’, even though it’s clear that’s not working very well,” Tiller remarked. “With the whole wellness campus mentality where we’re not just a wellness center, we’re a wellness campus, I know it’s with the intention of making everyone feel good and safe at school. However, it’s not working in the way they want it to when we’re working with the same school system that we’ve always had of classes and teachers putting the same amount of stress on kids all at once. When you offer counselors, it’s like where’s the time to even go to one when we’re overcome with so much work to do? I just think trying to call this a wellness campus with the way things are right now, is just not true.”

Senior Maggie Childers added on to the concerns Lily listed and proposed her solutions to this dilemma. 

“I think they’re spreading this idea that this is a wellness campus when things have actually gone backwards in terms of helping our students,” Childers vocalized. “The wellness center used to be a good resource for people to find therapists and to take time away from classes when they needed, however, they are no longer accepting walk-ins. I’ve seen that walk-ins were really beneficial for people because they always had the option of simply walking in to find support and I feel like if that’s being taken away from our students then what’s next? I think silencing people who are going through stuff and grieving is a toxic cycle that’s clearly getting worse each year. If we don’t do anything to stop it, there’s going to be an even bigger problem that we face.”

Senior Sydney Neseralla expanded the discussion and elaborated on the returning experience as a whole. 

“I think all of the Covid procedures are hypocritical because they pretend to be really strict on everything yet most students are allowed to wear their masks improperly. Some classes are more strict and students are reprimanded whereas other teachers don’t care. It’s okay since most students aren’t bothered by it, but there’s a lack of consistency. It’s that situation that’s been hard to understand throughout the return, but also coming back in a pandemic after losing a friend and not having the opportunity to mourn properly or the right support. Without those things, it’s made this a much weirder situation and an even harder transition.”