Back to Graded


On Thursday, October 8th, 2020 Graded students were finally able to go to school after months of online learning. Seniors and Lower School Kindergarteners felt welcomed as they entered campus decorated with several balloons and filled with familiar faces – partially covered by masks. This day allowed Seniors to experience the new school environment and all the different safety protocols. 

At 8:15 Graded students were allowed into campus. Those who arrived early, however, were instructed to remain in their cars until it was time. Upon arrival most students used the new “Filhos Sem Fila” app, which ensures each car has a designated parking spot in order to avoid crowding in the parking lot. Students were also permitted to use the walking entrance with a new system that uses sensors to detect a students school ID, allowing one person to enter at a time. 

All Seniors met with teachers in the gym where there were several chairs separated in a 1.8 meter distance. Many grade 12 students expressed how they finally felt like they were seniors once the school revealed their surprise: the senior hoodies had arrived (one of the biggest Graded traditions). Right after receiving their personalized hoodies, students sat down to watch the assembly. 

After Mr. Boerner gave his opening remarks, Mr. Kent and Ms. Cope dismissed students class by class and each teacher took their group of students to a different classroom. They all had to follow the distancing protocols by walking one behind each other instead of side to side. If students forgot they could just look down; several arrows on the floor have been placed to show the correct way to navigate through the flow of student traffic. For safety, everyone had their masks on at all times. Another major change was the stairs, which are now only used to go up or down and each one has a big sign written “Wrong Way” so students don’t use the wrong one.

When Seniors arrived in the classrooms, they were instructed to use hand sanitizer and sit at a desk. The desks have marked spots and need to be distanced from each other. In addition, the teacher stayed in front of the classroom the whole time. Most of the class was used to explain the rules and regulations regarding the new in-campus experience. 

Students and teachers will have to work together in face of new challenges such as communication. Students can’t hear everything the teacher says due to the masks, and vise versa. This extends to bathroom protocols, where each student has to take a card and go to the assigned bathroom for that classroom. 

Also during this first class, Seniors got lanyards with a student ID which indicates their grades, making it easier to identify them in school.

When the time came to leave class, the teacher went around spraying alcohol on each desk and the students used a paper towel to clean it.

During flex, all seniors went to the field where everyone spread out on the bleachers. Then, Mr. Switzer, who will be in charge of coordinating the events for flex time, explained their next activity. Seniors were given 20 minutes to film advice videos to encourage and help Juniors and Freshmen. After completing the fast, many took advantage of the time and took pictures with the hoodies to record this first official day as Seniors in school. Then, each group of students was called to go to lunch with a teacher.


Students had lunch with everyone from their English class. When entering the lunch room they had to stay in line apart from each other. Then, each student got drinks, dessert and food packed in small boxes. The tables fit four people and each seat was separated by a transparent plastic shield. This allowed students to talk and keep interacting in a safe way, minimizing the risk of infection. Although it was very different from a regular lunch this new set up was really organized and surprised many seniors. 


In the afternoon, seniors went to their classes to continue learning about safety protocols and take tours around the school facilities. Also they learned about the new tents, which will serve as “outdoor classrooms.”


At 3:30 students used the “Filhos Sem Fila” app and were slowly dismissed by their teacher making their way towards the parking lot. Brownies and pão de queijo were distributed to students close to the stairs before leaving school.


This day emphasized the feeling of unity and community that Graded has always strived for. Even though there are several changes and contact is limited, Seniors were also able to celebrate entering this final year of high school. Furthermore, they were able to reconnect with teachers and friends after a long time and finally spend time on the school campus after over 6 months. Although it was a different experience, many students enjoyed going back to school after such a long time.