Ironically, as I write this article, I am at home, quarantined. I got COVID-19 after being back at school for one whole week. I wore not one but two masks every day. I frequently used hand sanitizer. Although I am not yet eligible for the booster shot, I’m vaccinated. I felt that I did everything right. I took preventative measures and am still at home, horribly sick. I think, at this point, anyone could understand my frustration. In fact, I believe the majority of us students at Quartz Hill can, considering the number of students and staff we have out right now.
In nearly all of my classes, we discussed whether or not we think the school will go back to distance learning and whether or not that is even a debate at this point. Some kids agreed that it was not a matter of if but when. Others rejected the idea altogether. Regardless of students’ opinions, the statistics should provide us with an answer.
The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 daily is higher than the number of positive cases when the school initially shut down. This may be because we now know how to handle outbreaks better and are more readily equipped to handle such events. However, I think the main factors are something entirely different. It appears that we are becoming too comfortable with living amidst a pandemic. Essentially, pandemic life has been normalized, and we no longer fear the virus as much as before.
While it is good that there is no longer mass hysteria every time we get notice of a positive case, normalizing a pandemic definitely has its downsides. Our toilet paper is safe, but people’s lives are still at risk! I always took the pandemic seriously, but I had no idea how serious the effects were on a family’s overall quality of life until I got the virus. This week has been awful and so incredibly frustrating, as I got countless emails notifying me that there was another positive case on campus. While students and staff may not have a say in remaining in-person, we can control the precautions we take. Please, protect yourself and others and wear a mask.
In addition to that, quarantine dramatically impacts the economy. I fully understand that going back to distance learning would be another massive change that affects everyone. A significant factor in distance learning is the school losing money, which is never a good thing, as education is already incredibly underfunded in this country. However, I cannot help but wonder at which point funds matter less than students’ well-being.
In an ideal world, the school would go back to distance learning for a couple of months, just until the cases begin to die down again, and we get back to a safe learning environment. Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world, which means we risk COVID-19 exposures every day while attempting to get our education; yet another reason you should wear your mask and get vaccinated.