East students attempt to stay safe at school during a pandemic
December 10, 2021
I’m always squeezed between a lot of people and some don’t wear masks so you never know if someone is sick, and there isn’t any way to go around it.”
— Grace Renshaw ('23)
Entering the doors of high school is an anxiety-inducing experience for many students during a normal school year. Currently, instead of thinking about upcoming tests and textbooks that need to be read, students have to worry about contracting a dangerous virus that could potentially put the lives of their entire households in danger.
Some health precautions have been put in place, such as mandated mask-wearing, however, social distancing is impossible to maintain within the hallways of East due to the number of students enrolled.
Grace Renshaw (‘23) says, “I’m always squeezed between a lot of people and some don’t wear masks so you never know if someone is sick, and there isn’t any way to go around it.”
Another concern many students and parents have is the lack of control during the lunch breaks. Recently, East’s administration implemented a “lunch and learn” model, where students are supposed to eat in any of the designated areas during one lunch break, and then go either to a classroom, gym, or outside during the other. However, during these times students often stay in one place for the entire hour without their masks on, and other students roam the halls unmasked without supervision.
“It could definitely be better organized,” says Renshaw, “the main problem is that the tables in the cafeterias and annex are so crowded that there’s sometimes nowhere else to go, so maybe splitting up lunch breaks into when [students are] supposed to eat would help.”
If possible, students should try to eat outside and limit the amount of time they are not wearing their masks while eating. Eating in small groups spread apart would also be advantageous.
In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, students need to take responsibility for their own actions. Instead of taking masks off as soon as an adult is not around, students must maintain their integrity and put the well-being of others before themselves. Parents must also hold some responsibility and make sure they are not sending their sick children to school. Maintaining COVID-19 protocol regarding necessary testing and quarantining will also greatly help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
During after-school activities, it is even more important to stay vigilant. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends that “schools should cancel sports and unmasked extracurricular activities or make them fully virtual”. Therefore, those on sports teams need to limit their exposure outside of school in order to protect their teammates and coaches.