Safety vs. Entertainment: Priory’s Coronavirus Guidelines

Safety+vs.+Entertainment%3A+Priory%27s+Coronavirus+Guidelines

Thomas Johnson, Editor

Priory is giving its students the option to go back to in-person classes.. The administration has created thorough guidelines to keep the students, teachers, and Priory families safe from a virus which has infected over 23,000,000 and killed over 750,000 people worldwide. School will be a safe place for the students, as long as everyone follows the guidelines of washing their hands often, wearing masks at all times, and staying socially distant. The only time we can remove masks is at the gym to eat. The school has given us the guidelines, we just have to follow them. It will be an adjustment, but everyone is capable of following rules when teachers and other students are watching and holding people accountable for their actions. The problem will be when there is no one to hold students accountable.

In early August, seniors were able to participate in a college essay writing class, which gave us a taste of what the new safety guidelines would mean for the school year. While in the building, the class participants followed every single guideline. Everyone wore masks the whole time and stayed socially distant. Then the class ended. Minutes after the class ended, people were congregating in the parking lot without any masks or social distancing. While it is harder to transmit outside, that does not mean you are immune from the coronavirus. This story was not intended to shame anyone, they were excited to see each other after not seeing them for almost five months. However, to keep Priory open, we need to be more careful outside of school, than in the building itself. One of Priory’s safety guidelines is to potentially close campus to some if a student tests positive for the coronavirus to perform contact tracing. This may entail closing campus to all students, certain grades, or to students known to have been in a classroom with an infected person. These students would then do online school until tracing is complete and everyone who may have been in contact with the infected person is notified. The school will only know about the times someone was in contact with an infected person on campus. So everyone must also take it upon themselves to do their own contact tracing for those they were in contact with off campus or out of the classroom.

This also begs the question: when should Priory cancel non-school events? In the classroom, teachers have a much tighter control over their students than at things such as sporting events. Nineteen students contracted coronavirus at St. Dominic High School’s graduation and prom. In the long run, even potentially saving one life from cancelling events like these would make it worth cancelling. Priory would not have to cancel these events if they could trust their students to follow their guidelines outside of school. So we have to prove it to them. We have to prove that we will not bring a deadly virus into a school where some teachers, monks, and even students are at some risk of dying from this virus. So let’s have a fun year. Not one where we have a fun week of going out every single night and then causing the school to close because of a positive coronavirus test, but one where the administration can trust their students so they will not have to cancel fun events and activities. We have our whole lives ahead of us to go out and spend time with friends, this is not the time.