(Photo Credit: Alison Perez/Achona Online)
Within the past two weeks, four COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at the Academy. Prior, the Academy only had one case which was in the senior class. Many students believe Halloween is to blame for the new COVID-19 cases. However, this is premature. There is no definite way to identify that students contracted COVID the night of Halloween.
Within the past few weeks many students have switched to online learning as a precautionary judgement due to the rise in cases.
“I switched to online school for a few weeks leading up until Thanksgiving because my 84 year-old grandma is coming to town, and I can’t risk getting her sick. With the new COVID cases at school after Halloween, I figured it was safer to just stay home,” said Abigal Weaver (’21).
The whole volleyball team even switched to all online before the state semifinal game, so there would be no risk of the players contracting COVID-19.
“Mrs. Krukar gave the volleyball team a choice to quarantine and attend school virtually before our state semifinal game in order to hopefully prevent us players from getting COVID. Because of the new COVID cases rapidly popping up at AHN and in general, the volleyball team collectively decided it would be a good decision to go online and be more cautious before our big game,” said Olivia Mortellaro (’21).
The increase in cases has caused many students to question whether the school should go back online or to a hybrid situation. Hybrid schooling would consist of half the student population coming to school one day and then rotating each day to decrease the amount of people on campus.
“If we switch to hybrid, I think the spread of COVID-19 in school would definitely go down, but I am not sure that cases as a whole would go down because of the exposures outside of school,” said Madison Sigler (’21).
To clear the air, High School Assistant Principal Erin Krukar answers some questions determining Academy’s future schooling options.
Q: What new adjustments has the staff made to make the Academy safer despite the new COVID cases?
A: The only really new adjustment we have made is not allowing any students to eat in the building. We were allowing clubs and a small number of seniors each day to eat inside, but we needed to eliminate that extra risk. We continue with our thorough cleaning of the desks, bathrooms, etc., wearing our masks properly, washing our hands, and practicing social distancing in and out of school.
Q: What should students do to prevent the spread of Covid?
A: Students can help with the spread by always wearing their masks properly and washing their hands. Also, avoid large gatherings (sometimes even small gatherings) outside of school where people have their masks off. Students who eat outside for lunch also need to remember to maintain proper social distancing. We do these things to keep each other safe.
Q: Is there a chance we may go back online soon?
A: According to our school Covid policy, for us to go back to complete online learning, 10% of the total school population would have to have tested positive. That is roughly 45-50 students. We are thankfully nowhere near that number.
Q: Does the early dismissal on Wednesday’s have anything to do with the increasing covid cases?
A: No, the early dismissal does not relate to the increase in cases. This will help recapture important common planning time lost when Wednesday morning late-start days were suspended this school year. Teachers will use Wednesday afternoons for departmental meetings, as well as office hours for additional student help.
The increase in COVID cases has caused many students to panic. However until 45 to 50 students contract COVID, the Academy will remain in-person. As the student body, it’s important to be cautious and take the precautions necessary to stay in person.