COVID-19 vs. The Earth: Sage, administration, students all have roles to play


Packaged lunches stay safe from germs but increase plastic waste. photo by Juliana Blazek.

With COVID-19 and its restrictions, Hockaday has implemented new protocols to create a safer and healthier atmosphere. The school is making its best effort to accommodate COVID restrictions while still trying to stay an environmentally friendly place, but students need to be aware of how they are affecting the environment on a daily basis.

Some of the things Hockaday has done to help the environment with COVID happening include the decrease of waste in classrooms and after lunch time.

In the classrooms, the addition of students learning on Zoom as well as in person has caused many teachers to move all of their assignments and work to online platforms, such as OnCampus. This accommodates for the distance learners and ensures that students and teachers are not touching the same paper. With almost entirely online assignments, Hockaday has greatly decreased paper use, reducing overall waste.

A change during lunches has also helped. At the beginning of the school year, with the new lunch system, students were required to use paper bags when grabbing their lunch items. Once they finished lunch, students disposed of the contents as well as the bag. This caused an increase in waste because students only got one use out of the bag. After a couple of weeks, Hockaday, aware of the issue, switched to reusable bags for every student. With this change, less paper has been wasted on campus each day.

In another attempt to help, students have tried to recycle the plastic food containers. However, some containers were thrown into non-lined recycling bins and still had pieces of food left in them, causing mold to grow in these recycling bins. Hockaday later sent out an email encouraging students to recycle the containers, but only after cleaning them and removing remnants of food before putting them in a recycling bin. Otherwise, the dirty containers must be thrown into the garbage.

Students play a large role in keeping Hockaday environmentally sound. It is their responsibility to know how they are affecting the environment and how to make choices each day to remedy waste issues. The amount of plastic thrown out at lunch from plastic water bottles can be easily avoided if everyone refills their reusable water bottles at the water bottle filler instead of grabbing a plastic one. Furthermore, students need to be careful in choosing how much food to eat, making sure they are not pointlessly wasting food and plastic containers.

To keep up Hockaday’s approach to environmental responsibility, everyone has to do their part each day. If that means only grabbing a couple of containers at lunch and bringing their own water bottle, the students and faculty have the ability to help the environment even under COVID-19.