This year has brought many challenges, not the least of which being how to stay safe during Covid while also providing a good education for students. The question of what to do about Covid in school is one that has plagued school officials since the beginning of the pandemic.
Like schools all across the country, Mercy has been struggling with how to continue providing a stellar education in the midst of a pandemic. Many safety precautions have been taken in hopes of keeping the disease at bay.
However, how does the school know how effective these measures have been? And how does the school know when it is safe for students to go back? The answers to these questions lie not only in the school data, but also with the students.
For this article, two Mercy students were interviewed. One, Julia Brennan, made the choice to go fully remote. When asked why, she said, “I’m in my own bubble and I can stay with my family and it feels safer.” Julia is not alone in her opinion.
Thirty seven other students at Mercy High have made the same decision. These students are not the only people missing from the classroom this year. Theology teacher Ms. Regele has also made the decision to stay home. For her, like many others, staying home is the best way to keep her family safe. However the rest of the school has made a different choice.
Sophomore Sarah Day says this about why she feels comfortable returning to school in person: “I feel safe because every time we leave the teachers spray the desks and because there are only half as many people at school so there is less of a chance of me getting sick.” Like Sarah, many students at Mercy feel safe returning because of the precautions being taken to increase safety.
Mercy, like many other schools, has implemented many safety precautions this year. These measures, both big and small, have helped contribute to our schools relatively low number of Covid cases. This year Mercy has had less than 10 students contract the virus. This low number is sustained through the tireless efforts of Mercy’s teachers and staff.
One of the biggest measures taken this year has been the attendance model. With only half of the students in the building at a time, the risk of transmission decreases dramatically. Masks and desk cleaning are two smaller actions that have been put into place. One-way stairwells, while an inconvenience to the students, have decreased the risk of transmission even more.
With these measures in place Mercy so far has managed to escape the worst of the pandemic. The remaining question seems to be whether or not Mercy High should risk more exposure and move to a full attendance model or stay cocooned in the hybrid model.