How COVID Has Affected Other Schools in Our Area
By: Mira Henry'24
School this year compared to last year has changed in exponential ways due to the Covid- 19 Pandemic. Returning students to school safely and efficiently has been a main goal of many schools. However returning to school is not as easy as it may sound, a ton of planning is required in order to uphold the CDC’s guidelines and keep everyone safe. Since every school is different there are many different ways schools keep their community safe. Here's how a few schools achieve that…
At Episcopal High School all students live on campus, so testing for reentry to the campus is extensive. Dr. Bravo, Medical Direct at Episcopal says “All students complete three PCR tests during a 2-week period prior beginning 5 days before they arrive on campus.” This is to make sure there is no transmission of the virus. Weekly surveillance and a daily checklist are in place to insure students are free from COVID. Classrooms are set up to ensure students are properly distanced. Hand sanitizer is required as students enter each classroom and desks are wiped down as they leave. All air filters and ventilations have been replaced. During Lunch students have assigned locations and food is distributed in a transmission less way. Episcopal is doing everything they can to insure there is no closure to the school. Doing so would send students across the country and around the world. However, distance learning has been put back into place during the 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break, to limit the amount of travel. If a student or faculty member were to get covid there is an on-campus 27/4 Covid care unit where the student would stay for a minimum of 10 days or be sent home if possible. Exposed students are quarantined on campus and are encouraged to go home for the CDC timeline of 14 days.
At Potomac, before coming to campus each day students, faculty, and staff use the School Pass App to complete health screenings. All classrooms are set to ensure social distancing and are cleaned regularly and masks are worn at all times. During the fall, outdoor classrooms were used regularly. Potomac is not providing food services for the beginning of the year; all students bring lunch from home and eat in their classrooms or outside. Covid-19 Rates in DC are constantly monitored as well as areas where the majority of students and teachers live and PCR testing is required on a regular basis. Ms. Shelley Dutton, director of communications at Potomac says “ We continue to monitor regional conditions and the health of our school community very closely and will base our operational decisions on the relevant data.” If a student or staff member were to get Covid there are case-response and contact-tracing teams who are trained in response of a positive case.``
At SSSAS we have a lot of the same policies in place. Like using the schoolpass app as students arrive on campus every morning as well as proper social distancing and cleaning in classrooms. To get information from other schools in the area I reached out to Flint Hill, Bishop Ireton and O'Connell; however, I never heard back from these schools so I was unable to include them in this article.
Staying safe during this time is very important and crucial that we do everything right to ensure the safety of everyone in our communities. Along with staying safe working our way back to the normal we had pre-Covid is one of many main goals and our schools are working hard to ensure that.