Due to the potential rise in COVID-19 cases, students and staff shared their opinions about how the pandemic has affected schools. Since students returned back to school for the 2021 school year, there’s always been a possibility for COVID-19 to spread within the school. Although that possibility has been diminishing ever since more students have received the vaccination. The spread still hasn’t been prevented, but it’s mainly on the shoulders of students whether or not they follow the COVID-19 guidelines or not.
Even with the enforced requirement of wearing masks, it doesn’t entirely ensure that students will follow them. Gissell Martinez, a senior, said, “Well I usually see other students wearing their masks in class but they tend to take them off in the halls and outside’.”
Although the exact number of students catching COVID-19 may be hard to determine (since they are based on cases being self-reported), according to SBCUSD’s COVID-19 Dashboard, as of December 15, 2021, there have only been 15 officially reported student cases since August. There have also been 8 reported cases of staff members who tested positive for COVID-19. The cases may seem low, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the worry about spread is over, especially due to the rise of new COVID-19 variants such as Delta and Omicron.
Regarding the COVID-19 restrictions put in place, Jose Felix, 12, said “It doesn’t seem that there’s much to worry about in my grade, but I usually notice that there are many underclassmen who don’t follow the COVID-19 regulations.”
“I share a few classes with freshmen students, in which half of them usually have no problem with wearing masks but the other half seems to strongly dislike wearing them,” said Martinez.
Could these allegations towards younger students be well-grounded? Around the school, you can also witness many students not wearing their masks around crowds and inside buildings. During lunch, I stood in the lunchroom, and I noticed a few things. Hardly any students were wearing their masks, and they congregated in large groups.
If students continue to disregard these regulations that are put in place to ensure their safety, there’s concern that the school or district may be harsher towards COVID-19 restrictions. Granted, while the chances of returning back to online learning is highly unlikely, students and staff still shared their opinion towards it.
“I don’t want the school to close, since I believe it’s not the best for students due to it not being interactive,” said math teacher Sandra Petree.
Many students shared a similar mindset since most students heavily disliked online learning.
Some students also believe that the transition won’t be as difficult, yet they feel as if the interactions with their teachers are fake, and it doesn’t compare to the real thing when in the classroom.
“I don’t think it’s a bad idea for the school to close, but I don’t like the idea of online school,” said Felix. “It was just boring.”
He’s not the only one who supports a lockdown but doesn’t want to go back to online school. One reason for this is some students take a lockdown as a vacation from school.
“A few of my friends enjoyed lockdown since they can stay home all day and do nothing,” said Martinez.
With winter approaching, a season where people stay and gather indoors more than outside, it’s especially important to be safe and follow COVID-19 guidelines so the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t increase. In order to prevent this spread, students should wear their masks more often and follow the school COVID-19 guidelines as well as follow Governor Newsom’s mask mandate (wearing masks while indoors in public regardless of vaccination status) for the next month (December 15 – January 15).
It is not sure how fast COVID-19 will spread during the winter season, but the students will need to be more cautious around the school. According to the San Bernardino County Coronavirus tracker, the number of COVID-19 cases haven’t settled, it’s still highly erratic, and during the recent past weeks (November 29-December 7) the cases have been steadily increasing. If the COVID-19 rates start rising dramatically then additional measures may need to be taken by the district or the school.