We’re Back…On Zoom?


Art/Photo by Luciana Duke

Mr. Phelps works with students at home while those in-person are reading an article on the topic of discussion. With some students being at home, teachers are trying to do most in-class activities online so that students both in-person and at home can get the same experience.

Luciana Duke, Staff Writer

It’s been just over two weeks since students have been back on campus. Most students are happy to be back in classrooms, hanging out with friends during lunch, and being able to participate in more school activities such as watching football games and attending rallies. But with so many in-person events returning to campus, West High is facing several positive COVID-19 cases.

   The school has implemented different protocols and requirements to deal with positive COVID-19 cases. West High has required each teacher to create a seating chart in order to make contact tracing easier. The district nurse provides the Health office with confirmed COVID-19 cases. The principal then requests teachers to make a list of students who might have been in contact with students who tested positive. Nurses go one by one through the list and check the vaccination status of each student. Once nurses check in with every student’s family, “the students involved get an official letter from the principal and give them different guidelines based on whether or not they’re vaccinated,” Ms. Moffit, West High’s Health Aid explained. 

   Students who test positive, as well as unvaccinated students, are sent home to quarantine for 10 days. However, this 10-day quarantine goes case by case; the principal and the district nurse both evaluate when it is right for a student to return to campus.  Most students feel these protocols are helpful and necessary to keep everyone safe. “I think even if you’re vaccinated you should get tested after you’ve had close exposure… it would make the school a safer environment,” said Paige Hamilton (12) who had close contact with a student who tested positive. 

   Even though some may find it a hassle to follow the school’s safety protocols, they are important to keep students safe. If teachers and staff continue doing their part, controlling the spread of the virus will become easier. 

   Regardless, quarantine, Zoom, and virtual learning are back. With most students being on campus both students and teachers thought Zooming was a thing of the past. But with these recent circumstances, some teachers are faced with half their classes being at home. “I have a Zoom set-up so that [absent] students can join the class that they’re in … they can be part of the class discussion, they can get materials… and do the work,” English teacher Mrs. Elwood said. 

   Last year, countless students realized that virtual learning was not ideal for them. But with recent events, they have no other choice. It has been harder for most teachers to go back to online classes because they are not as prepared as last year since most students are back on campus. “I’m really worried about quarantine,” Mrs. Elwood expressed. “If students are quarantining constantly, even in Zoom in my class, they are not really getting the full experience.” Zoom does not allow students to be in constant communication with their teachers, and it is hard for most to stay engaged. This might also affect in-person students because part of the on-campus experience is being able to interact with their peers. “It is really weird seeing half of your class missing,” Hamilton stated. 

   COVID-19 is something that we might have to deal with for a long time. While there might be many setbacks throughout the year, West High continues to do everything they can to keep students safe and control the spread of the virus.