How COVID-19 has Changed Coginchaug


This year, half of the Coginchaug gymanisum is used for lunch

COVID-19 has taken many impacts of normal life, including the day to day operations of Coginchaug. Almost all of the day to day operations of Coginchaug have changed throughout this year. What has changed, and what has remained different throughout CRHS? There’s some similarities in Coginchaug life. The building hasn’t changed, nor has there been changes in the layout of the building. However, there’s differences which enforce the student life throughout the year. 

Cognichaug’s schedule has changed due to this pandemic. On a normal week, students would have five sixty-seven minute periods Tuesday to Friday with four seventy-eight minute ones on Monday. This year, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are four eighty-four minute periods with a thirty-six six period half day on Wednesday, which is used for deep cleaning of the school. Classes may have also shifted locations, with social distancing requirements for desks making larger classes move into larger ones to accommodate changes. 

For many teachers, COVID has changed the way they teached. Nicholas Barberi, one of the physical education teachers, explained how the curriculum changed throughout the year due to COVID. “In the first quarter”, Barberi said, “we focused on techniques for the exams with the sophomores [in 10th grade, students are required to take physical education exams by the state]. Once the guidelines started to get less in the second quarter, we were able to use equipment, and we are starting to get back into normal classes.” 

Student life has changed in this time. Many time honored traditions of Coginchaug and the high school experience have changed in this time. Sports, concerts, and large gatherings have been replaced without fans or not at all. Lunch is one of the largest changes to daily life. Due to a grant from the US Department of Agriculture and the Connecticut State Department of Education, all students have the option to have a free lunch and breakfast during the school day. This replacement allows students who don’t have adequate resources to have a meal throughout the day. The lunchroom, however, is different. Tables are replaced with desks to mandate physical distancing, and traditional seating arrangements, including the traditional tables for seniors, are replaced with a seating free for all. 

This year, clubs and activities have made a different shape. Many clubs are meeting still, albeit remote and with shortened time, and still doing things. Coginchaug’s Model United Nations club has particularly benefited from COVID. The club has the ability to compete in conferences without lower fees for travel and for competition. Ava Dell’Orfano, a junior and the President of Model UN, said that “Although the conferences have had to adapt since we can’t be in person, it opens it up to people who couldn’t go to conferences due to the cost or the distance.”  

Many students are opting to take this year at home, or fully remote. Remote learners use Google Meet, a program similar to Zoom or Microsoft Teams, to connect with their in person classmates. This program has allowed students to emulate an educational environment while maintaining social distancing at their house. This is also used if students need to quarantine throughout the year if they were potentially exposed to the virus. 

Barberi detailed that, “for cohort C [the term for remote learners], we’re still keeping them involved by helping them lead presentations and keeping them physically active as well.” 

These uncertain times have been hard for many people. However, the strong work of the CRHS faculty and the administration have made a school environment where students can learn and thrive while staying safe.