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Back to Learning: Waverly robotics team creates safety barriers for district

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 4:31 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - This fall, extracurricular teams have extra time on their hands because many of their competitions have either been cancelled or postponed.

With last year’s robotics season cut short and with uncertainties surrounding this year’s competition, the Waverly robotics team is switching gears, to create plexiglass barriers for the district.

“We are constructing barriers for our secretary’s office, all the main offices and we will be doing the buses as well,” said Tabitha Garza, a junior robotics team member.

Although the district is starting the school year with online learning on Monday, these safety precautions are for administration employees working in the building.

“They really are our front line workers right now,” said Jeff Parks, the head robotics coach.

The precautions are also for if/when students return to in-person instruction.

“I do have hope,” said Garza.

Because the Waverly robotics team has more than 50 members, the team meets 10 at a time to design, cut and hang the barriers while in masks.

“It was them that came up with the plan with the team members to maximize their time. I couldn’t be more proud,” said Jack Nowakowski, the team’s business mentor.

“We are just hoping to say to our school “hey, we can give this to you especially when challenges come up.” They can rely on us, we are dependable and come into clutch when they need us,” added Jacob Snook, a Waverly high school senior.

Team members say these hands-on meetings are win-win scenarios because not only are they helping the school, but helping students feel a sense of normalcy.

“Being back in the shop, I’m happy here and it’s fun helping our community,” said Connor Lee, a Waverly senior.

“I know it helps our students with their mental health when they are able to get back into their clubs and have those connections with other students,” added Parks.

Knowing that robotics teams from other schools are in similar situations, Waverly hopes those teams can do this too.

“I really encourage other teams to help their schools during this time of need to make sure the spread of COVID doesn’t spread even more,” said Garza.

The team says they have about a months’ worth of work left to do for safety precautions in the schools.

They are also working to create safer door handles for the local library.

Waverly schools will start school remotely.

The district will evaluate public health data in late September and decide what to do going forward.

WILX will keep you updated.

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