Increase in COVID-19 cases forces many students to quarantine unnecessarily

19+kids+and+staff+as+of+Dec+14+are+currently+quarantining+under+the+new+policy+as+opposed+to+240+on+Nov.+24.%0A

Photo by Emily Goldstein '23

19 kids and staff as of Dec 14 are currently quarantining under the new policy as opposed to 240 on Nov. 24.

Emily Goldstein ’23, Staff Writer

In the past, one positive COVID-19 case would quarantine an entire class and the classroom teacher for 14 days. It mattered not if everyone had maintained six feet of distance and were masked. This was the policy at the start of the year, and it was a terrible, insufficient policy. Since then, the policy was changed, and is now significantly more efficient and accommodating.

It is proven by the CDC that the virus is more difficult to spread when individuals wear masks and keep more than six feet apart, even if inside. Therefore, all of the people sitting more than six feet apart were unnecessarily being quarantined under the old school policy. If every CDC guideline is being followed, then there is no reason to quarantine so many people at once.   

It is still very important to inform students right away who have been in a class with a positive case, but the updated policy correctly recognizes that only students within a six foot radius of the infected student should be quarantined.”

When the district announced changes to the quarantining criteria on Nov. 30, I was grateful and relieved. I would no longer have to quarantine when one person tucked in the corner of the room 20 feet away from me tested positive. It is more convenient for teachers and students now that Staples has updated its quarantine policy to follow more appropriate precautions. 

In classrooms, desks are purposely arranged six feet apart from each other on all sides. This is done to limit students’ contact with each other and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Students are also required to wear a mask at all times while inside the building. These precautions were implemented to further minimize the number of students who are contact-traced under this new policy. 

It is still very important to inform students right away who have been in a class with a positive case, but the updated policy correctly recognizes that only students within a six foot radius of the infected student should be quarantined. 

Another improvement that has helped determine which students are required to quarantine and which students are not is the new mandated seating charts in each class. These charts establish a clear map of who was close to whom, making it easy for the nurses to quickly contact trace at-risk students. 

The new quarantine guidelines set in place at Staples are much more efficient and effective than the old ones in establishing a beneficial learning environment for all students.