Welcome Back to Campus. Are We Safe? Are Safety Protocols Actually Working?

Juan Agraz, Staff Writer

I had my doubts that we were going to ever come back to school. I remember last year some of my senior friends and family members graduated online, no ceremony, no party, no nothing. While we were on summer break, the district has taken the decision to implement some new rules that I guess were given by the state, and now we have to follow them in order to come to school and actually learn in person. These rules have been the same ones that the majority of us have been following since the beginning of COVID-19 in 2020. But there have been some questions and some concerns about students returning to campus and having a regular school day rather than online. Many parents and a few staff members have been and are still against having school in person. It’s a difficult situation because a few claim that it’s better to be distanced from each other where not a lot of kids and teachers will run the risk of getting infected, and there’s some that are saying that we must move along and face this situation. With the proper safety measures not a lot of kids will get sick. But the question here is, are these rules actually working? I went out of my way and asked some questions to the faculty and the students to know their opinions and maybe just maybe, find a concrete answer. 

The first person that I interviewed was the school nurse, Ms. Katrina Weed. We sat down and talked for a few minutes. My first question for her was: “What is your opinion on the new rules and regulations that are being used at school during the pandemic?”

I think it is really important that we follow the mask rules and wash our hands often,” she stated. “We have already had a few confirmed cases of Covid. If a student in your class has Covid and does not know it, but everyone is wearing masks and washing their hands, the odds are very good that you will not get it. But if you are sitting close to someone who has Covid and you have your mask off or not covering your nose, or they do, then it is much more likely to spread, especially the new Delta Variant, which is highly contagious.” 

My next question for her was: “Should students and staff be vaccinated in order to go to school?” 

“I think everyone should get vaccinated.” She added “However forced vaccination is kind of a grey area. Perhaps if people are uncomfortable getting the vaccine or can’t get it for medical reasons, they should have to show proof of negative Covid tests weekly. I believe in individual rights, but no one has the right to spread a deadly virus to others.”

I curiously added, “We have some parents saying that we shouldn’t be open. We can all see it all over the news and my parents were hesitant to let me and my sister go to school. Do you think it’s a good idea  to be open especially when DELTA is now out there?”

Ms. Weed emphasized, “I think that, partly as a result of people choosing not to get the vaccine, we are going to be dealing with Covid for a long time.” She continued, “I think online school has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, and as we go forward we have to find ways to safely carry on with our lives.” 

I asked, “What are your thoughts on the usage of the masks?”

Ms. Weed answered, “I strongly believe that the masks help a lot to stop the spread of the virus. I work in group homes on Wednesday nights and have had multiple exposures to patients that tested positive for Covid, but I always wear a mask, wash my hands and dont touch my face. I have not gotten sick. That is all the proof I need.” 

Lastly, I asked her: “Do you think that any of these rules and safety measures are improving or making a positive impact on the health and safety of both faculty and students?”

She clarified, “I think the safety measures are making it possible for us to all be here together and that is very positive. I hope that doing these safety measures also creates a sense of community and unity. We are all in this together, we are all responsible for the health and safety of ourselves and each other. I wear my mask to protect you, and you wear yours to protect me.”