East updates bathroom policies due to new mask mandate

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Vivian Rong ('23)

Student body president-elect speaks with Eastside.

The Cherry Hill school district has recently undergone serious and drastic changes surrounding its COVID-19 policy. As COVID-19 numbers have gone down, officials have decided to relax pandemic restrictions. This has resulted in masks becoming optional, and bathroom signing in is not mandatory now (at least not due to the effects of COVID-19).

The Assistant Principal, Theodore Beatty, says, “The biggest and most recent change would be the optional masking for all stakeholders in our community.” According to him, these were put in place because “The Board of Education has reviewed various points of data to make the best decision for our school and community at large to both accommodate the best learning environments while maintaining safety for all families.” These data points include transmission rates and overall case numbers.

Overall, virus tracking is and will continue to be a major consideration for moving past the COVID-19 pandemic. The most important thing to consider in these new changes is safety. However, we can not be like this forever. Eventually, this will end and life will carry on without masks and restrictions. The good news is that these decisions are being left to experts, who can most accurately make these decisions.

Some students have raised concerns that restrictions are not evenly distributed through classes. In response, Assistant Principal Theodore Beatty says, “To my knowledge, these changes should be consistent across all classes at East. If there are issues that students are having, they should speak to a staff member in the building to get further clarity. If a student is uncomfortable, they should speak up. All adults in the school want students to feel safe and ready for learning.” This reiterates the importance of safety at East, something that should be guaranteed at any high school.

If some classes have higher restrictions for students, it is not fair to the rest of the student body. That is why these policies must remain as uniform as possible. As we discuss the current plan, the school is looking towards the next step for the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked about future plans for the school, Theodore Beatty said, “I believe the goal is safety. As a school, we need to keep all of our stakeholders safe and ready to learn. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we too must adjust to account for these needs.” The flexible mentality will be crucial in future discussions about COVID-19 regulations.