Media by Carter Van Buskirk
Editorial Board: Keep the Quarantine
Yesterday, Governor Mike Parson announced that the current quarantine guideline in place for schools would be relaxed, so that people who are exposed to a COVID-19 case, but wear a mask, won’t have to quarantine for 14 days.
This comes after numerous school districts, like Wentzville and Mehlville, have had to revert to online learning after initially returning to in-person.
Superintendent Dr. Mark Miles sent an email out to parents earlier this week stating that due to quarantines around the district, there have been staffing shortages that may not allow for in-person learning to continue. Dr. Miles said they will make decisions on a case-by-case basis for each school, so that one school can continue in-person, even if another school cannot.
The return to in-person learning already poses substantial health risks to those who opt to come back into the building to learn. But with no quarantine period, now the likelihood of exposure to a COVID-19 case will be far greater than before, at a time when cases are already on the rise.
On Wednesday, the CDC reported a new record for the highest number of new cases in a day, with 143,408 new cases that day across the U.S. Currently, the CDC reports that 94 percent of U.S. jurisdictions are experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases, and there appears to be no sign of the transmission rate going down.
Wearing a mask is efficient in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, but it is not foolproof. There is still a significant chance of catching the virus if a person is in close proximity to a positive case, even with a mask on.
Now is not the time to lessen our safety protocols. It’s time to enforce them.
Just within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen a rise in COVID-19 cases on MHS’ sports teams. Numerous teams all have had cases pop up as the weather gets colder and the spread of COVID-19 becomes harder to combat. And now, cases are expected to increase within the community as the return to in-person schooling continues today and winter sports continue to play indoors.
With the amended quarantine guideline, it’ll be easier to ensure students who chose to return to the school building continue to learn in-person. But at what cost?
Recently, a boy by the name of Peyton Baumgarth passed away due to complications from COVID-19, the first person under 18 to die of the virus in Missouri. Baumgarth, a former RSD student, had been going in-person to school, but after contracting the virus began quarantine.
Even after these tragic deaths in school communities, school faculty members around the nation are still being asked to put their lives on the line, without any real choice in the matter. Districts around the country have a duty to protect their staff and students, to ensure that the building they walk into everyday is a safe and nurturing place.
However, throughout this pandemic, we have seen them do just the opposite and continue to send their teachers into schools, potentially risking their lives.
Parson has chosen to promote social interests over the safety of the entire community by relaxing a quarantine guideline that was made to protect citizens from a virus that has no known cure. Asking staff members to come into a school and risk exposure to students, some of whom go to parties without masks and such, wasn’t enough. Now, Parson is potentially accelerating the spread of the virus on school grounds by allowing potential COVID-19 cases to continue to roam around and possibly spread the disease.
But, the choice is ultimately up to RSD. Will they choose to put the safety of students and teachers first or cross their fingers and hope numbers won’t go up?
RSD, it’s time to choose.
Please. Put your students and faculty first.