Say Goodbye to “Competencies and Mindsets”


Benton T. '24

Competencies and Mindsets, Harry Styles and YN, Phineas and Ferb, and Shrek and Donkey ready for their final good-byes. (Benton T. ’24)

Competencies and Mindsets, Harry Styles and Y/N, Phineas and Ferb, Shrek and Donkey. No, these aren’t the hottest couples costumes from this past Halloween; they are the names of Lakeside’s portables, or soon-to-be-ex-portables. For the past two years, the portables have been a staple of Lakeside’s campus, with their initial purpose being to assist in social distancing in classrooms. But though many students pass them every morning on the way to school, most have not gone inside them since last spring. That’s why they’re finally being taken away.

  The portables were added as a pandemic response to allow students to return to in-person school after lockdown. Ms. Tandon (Lakeside’s CFO) explained that “we needed the portables when we opened school after being shut down – after being remote – in January of 2021 when we came back, because we were trying to keep a six foot distance and several of our classrooms are too small to do that with 16 or 17 kids in a room.” However, in March of last year, the CDC relaxed the distancing requirement in schools from six feet to three feet. That allowed classes to move back inside Lakeside buildings, and thus, the portables have mostly sat empty since April 2021.

As it turns out, the decision to remove them has been in the works since then. The portables are expensive to lease, and they have cost the school approximately $25,000 a month, amounting to almost half a million dollars since they were first put in. The reason they are only being taken out now is because the school did not want to rush the process. “It took a while because we were waiting to see how the pandemic was going and the trend of the infection rates. And as more information and research came out, which talked about the negative impacts of having remote school and shutting school down on students, it was really clear that the governor would never be mandating a six foot rule again,” commented Ms. Tandon. For those reasons, the school did not see a good case for continuing to lease them. 

But though many students pass them every morning on the way to school, most have not gone inside them since last spring.

However, it’s not as easy as it sounds to simply remove the portables. Logistically, removing them is a bit of a nightmare – namely, taking out the ramps, decks and stairs; scheduling the electricians to come in; planning the removal for a school break to avoid creating chaos on campus and nearby roads; and bringing in the heavy machinery required for the process. Mr. Dawkins, the director of facilities, disclosed the expected order of events: the electricians will begin removing the wiring on November 21; the company that owns the portables will bring in people to split them into pieces and remove them; finally, the gravel and asphalt will be dealt with.

When asked if there were any strong arguments for keeping the portables, Ms. Tandon simply replied, “There really were not.” So, what’s in the cards for the softball field, soon to be clear for the first time in years? In the past, Lakeside has considered adding another building to grow the size of the school, but that is currently on hold. For now, the softball field will remain empty and return to its former everyday use; mainly overflow parking and sports practices.

And so, it’s time to say goodbye to the portables – the ones we froze in during our winter classes and were so thankful for in the midst of the 2021 summer school heatwave. Farewell, dear gorgeous gray portables. You probably won’t be missed.