Homecoming: Students Safe Return to Campus


Agustin Alzate

Blue walls can be seen in the Columbus School front lawn ahead of the students’ return. These are part of the new biosecurity protocols implemented by the school, placed to ensure that a safe distance is kept between people present at campus. “I’m happy that the school has taken these measures seriously because they mean that our return is one step closer than we expected,” Nicolas Zarate, TCS senior, said.

Nicolas Creus, Discoverer Staff Writer

As Medellín reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic, directives of The Columbus School have developed an intricate process for campus reentry to ensure students’ safety and satisfaction.

It’s been 7 months since students have had face to face classes, desperate because of setbacks that have lengthened their wait, students don’t realize the challenges that the TCS community leaders have faced as they foresee the school’s recovery.

“We know that when we reopen we will have a large reduction in time and possibilities on campus, so we want to make sure that we meet student needs and expectations,” Britta McCarthy, head of the student development team, said.

TCS directives understand that going back implies big changes within the school system. They believe that going back is a relief for students mentally, socially, and academically, thus they want to ensure that all these areas are properly taken into account upon their return.

“We’ve been looking at how schools have been reopening, from Asia to Europe… they have a lot of information regarding how it can be done in a relatively safe way,” McCarthy, said.

By analyzing worldwide post-COVID measures schools have taken and all inputs of information available, organizers are taking their time and thinking of which strategies are applicable to TCS, and which are not.

“It’s not easy to compare two schools, I can’t say taking more time guarantees that we will be safer, but if waiting is necessary, it’s because of the complex situation,” McCarthy, said.

As the TCS community watched schools like Montessori reopen their doors, parents and students were informed that school had already taken necessary steps thus far given the circumstances. They now await responses from the Envigado Departments of Education and Health.

“Returning is complex because we are a very big institution, so we have to comply with all of the requirements of the government,” Juan David Lopez, High School principal, said.

Department officials are a crucial factor in determining how and when students may return, they must be given time because of the magnitude of the risks they must assess for TCS´s and other schools biosecurity protocols.

“Seeing every year how seniors get to have the time of their lives has always been a dream of mine, I want to return to our school as soon as possible to salvage what we can of this year and the experiences it brings,” Nicolas Zarate, 12th grade student, said.

As seniors experience their final year at school through computer screens, students must remember that officials are doing everything they can to bring everyone back safely, and in a manner that helps them have the best year possible given the country’s current conditions.

“This is no easy feat, but we will do everything within our capabilities to bring everyone back in accordance to our community’s new reality,” Lopez said.