Sunday, February 28, 2021

Othello High School video details rules for reopening

Staff Writer | January 20, 2021 1:00 AM

OTHELLO — Sometimes it’s hard to direct or be in a video.

That’s what Othello High School Associated Student Body officer Jack Gentry, director Vanessa Valentin and others discovered Thursday while filming a video demonstrating how students should reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when they return Monday for hybrid instruction, the first time students have been at school since March 2020.

High school principal Scott Schwartz asked advisor Tari Perez and the ASB officers to make a video detailing those changes.

Gentry was great when demonstrating how to sanitize the desk after class, but that wasn’t quite what director Vanessa Valentin had in mind.

“You have a line, Jack,” Valentin said.

“I have a line?” Gentry asked.

Cut. Take two.

“But make it (the video) fun, so it’s not boring for the students,” Valentin said.

Most of the COVID-19 restrictions were familiar after 10 months, but they mean some specific changes in a high school setting.

For instance, there are rules on how many kids can sit at tables in the cafeteria, and students won’t be allowed to use a locker. Social distancing is required at all times, even in the bathrooms.

Gentry got the job of making that point, and he talked it over with the director.

“It’s ‘in the bathrooms, question mark?’ Do I say question mark?” he asked.

The six-foot rule also applies in the hallways, and Valentin laid out how that would look in the video.

“We’re like, barely not six feet, and then somebody is yelling, ‘six feet,’” she said.

That took a couple of takes to get coordinated.

“You guys didn’t yell,” said Kenzie Simpson.

“This should not be this hard,” said Halle Parris.

Not even couples are exempt from the six-foot rule, or the rule requiring masks except when eating. Parris was given the task of explaining that.

“No smooching,” she said.

There was also the question of what six feet really looks like. Simpson taped together two yardsticks as a visual aid, but it wasn’t very eye catching.

“The sign by the cafeteria says one cow,” said Lauryn Maples, but there weren’t any cows around.

Cindy Magana and Maples demonstrated six feet by standing with their arms outstretched.

But in the end, the best visual aid may have been provided by OHS assistant principal Jim Wood. He’s about six feet, three inches tall, so he lay on the floor to demonstrate.

“Comedy gold,” Gentry said.

The introduction and ending credits also got some consideration, with the best location and what the lines should be.

“Wait, what are we waiting for?” Valentin said. “I think we should probably record this.”

Usually kids have about a month or so to make a video, Valentin said, but because school is reopening soon the production time frame was a lot shorter.

“It’s due Friday,” Valentin said.

“As in tomorrow?” Simpson said last week.

The video will be turned in before Friday and available for viewing by the first day of school.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at


Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald

Othello High School ASB officer Halle Parris explains what's cool and what's not cool when OHS reopens Jan 25. The ASB officers recorded a video explaining the rules in the time of coronavirus.


Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald

Loryn Maples (left) and Jack Gentry (right) lay down what will be the law in the Othello High School cafeteria. The aSB officers were asked by OHS administrators to produce a video explaining the rules kids will be required to live by in an attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus.


Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald

Cindy Magana (right) explains new daily check-in rules for Othello High School students, with her sister Elidia doing the filming. The school's ASB officers were asked to film a video detailing the rules for students prior to the reopening of OHS Jan. 25.


Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald

Cindy Magana demonstrates a new fact of life at Othello High School - if you're close enough to touch somebody, in this case Loryn Maples (left), you're too close. The school's ASB officers were asked to film a video detailing the new rules in advance of the high school's reopening Jan. 25.


Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald

Othello High School assistant principal Jim Wood (center) and ASB officers Loryn Maples (left) and Cindy Magana (right) demonstrates what six feet really looks like in a video produced by the ASB officers. The video shows OHS students some of the new rules required when school reopens Jan. 25.