Protocols? Who needs them? (We do!)

After losing 18 months of in-person education, coming back has been unusual for most of us. As the year started, people including myself, were excited to finally hang out with our peers and be able to focus better in school.

But with joy there was also concern from parents and students about the potential health consequences due to Covid. We’re expected to follow the basic Covid protocols in order to keep us safe, but there is a lack of adherence seen around school. 

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the basic protocols for Covid include maintaining 6 feet distance, wearing a mask in public areas, avoiding large crowds / poorly ventilated rooms, washing your hands often, disinfecting everything, covering coughs, and monitoring health daily. Considering we are still living in this global pandemic, I would argue that a number of individuals at school are not doing enough to enforce and maintain these protocols. 

For example, the main issue is the failure to clean classrooms between periods. Staff are provided with enough wipes to enforce cleaning desks and materials, but it’s not happening. I feel this is necessary because individuals touch things like desks, doors, and computers leaving their germs behind. Also,many people are seen holding or shaking their hands with no effort to disinfect afterward. Others touch the same things and later rub their eyes, nose, or the food they eat. This can be improved by making time to clean desks before and after class time as a daily routine in every class.

As for social distancing, it is something that is completely different because it is nearly impossible to follow considering the school is over populated. According to Assistant Principal, Pedro Edeza, who is in charge of Covid issues, “According to the CDC we’re not required to have social distancing outdoors.” While the CDC recommends 3 feet in the classroom, this is also difficult, so it makes it even more important for people to be masked.

While it is undeniable that most students wear their masks around campus, some people continue to wear them incorrectly both in and out of class. My main concern is students not wearing their mask over their nose or the no use overall based on the fact that covid is airborne. As they take them off, they seem to leave them lying around making it easier for germs to spread around. 

As for those who do not take the mask mandate seriously, they face serious consequences with the office. “We basically deal with it as we are informed,” said Edeza, “I have gotten notifications from teachers that particular students are not wearing them properly, I have conferences with those students and inform them basically what and how the mask is to be worn properly.” 

Another issue is not knowing how students are informed about Covid infections. As a student myself, I don’t feel fully aware of what to do if I or someone around me tests positive for this disease. I feel there needs to be expanded awareness on what steps to follow after feeling somewhat sick, testing positive, being exposed to someone who is sick, and how to return, along with how to avoid those things. To ensure expanded knowledge Edeza stated they would try to expand the amount of posters seen around the school for student awareness and reminders. 

Along with the downsides of following these protocols, there also come positive things where the school is not credited enough for doing. According to Edeza, it is ensured that classes have 9 negative ion filters which help reduce and purify the air quality students and teachers take in. They also give parents the ability to speak up in the office if they feel their children are at high risk to Covid 19. As an example, parents and students can go into the office and request shields to be in use for comfort. 

As a student at Alisal High, it has been a bit shocking to see the lack of efforts from a certain group of students and not doing enough to go back to how things used to be. From speaking with Edeza, it has been somewhat comforting to know that we are not the only school struggling to see the protocols as a real world issue and not a chore, although it does not make the issue acceptable. As we are nearly three months into the school year, I still don’t understand why it’s so hard to wear a mask when required in order to move forward and get back to a life without Covid protocols.