COVID-19 introduces changes to the guidance department


Photo by Lyah Muktavaram '22

Among other adjustments being made, the guidance department is now active on Twitter, posting updates regularly on their feed to keep students informed.

Like many things in and outside of Staples, the guidance department looks different this fall due to COVID-19. The counselors have made accommodations to help students in a safe and organized fashion. 

This includes how the counselors are able to help the students both in person and online. The department, for example, has a new way of signing into appointments virtually; students that come in to see their counselors can now scan a QR code at the front desk and use a Google form to enter their first name, last name and reason for coming in. Students sit in a socially distanced waiting room until their counselors are ready for them. 

Another adjustment that the department has made is that counselors are making videos for students to provide support or clarification on a variety of topics. Guidance now has social media, which is being used to share videos, articles, events, important student deadlines, positive affirmations and support. 

“The role of a school counselor is very social in the aspect that most of what we do is through communication with others,” counselor Sarah Magilnick said. “ The extra screen time can feel very different from a face-to-face interaction.” 

“The role of a school counselor is very social in the aspect that most of what we do is through communication with others,

— Sarah Magilnick

Despite these new challenges, the counselors are still supporting students with their schedules, the college application process and those with higher anxieties surrounding COVID. The roles of counselors have largely remained the same, but the function of the department has changed in consideration of the circumstances.

However, despite these efforts, it seems that students, and also some teachers, are unaware of these changes that the department has made. 

 “I don’t think people know all the things that the guidance department can do. I think if more people knew about the resources [videos etc] they would take advantage of them,” social studies teacher Alexis Aaeng said.

Seniors have been able to meet with their counselors about college planning or high school academics since the year started. 

“When I’ve met with my counselor virtually or online it has gone smoothly so their new system seems to work,” Gabby Lampugnale ’21 said.

Even though many students simply meet with counselors as they normally would and don’t take advantage of the social media, counselors are able to connect with and help students even in an uncertain time. 

“I feel very proud to be a part of the Staples Counseling Department,” Magilnick said. “All around the world, all over the country, and all across our state, schools are doing the best they can to support students and work with the resources they have.”