Once school returns to in-person learning, seeing classmates on campus may feel like a reversion to old habits and social norms, however, an action as simple as giving a friend a hug could force the school to resume solely online learning.
Although the number of coronavirus cases in the United States is approaching 9 million, San Francisco moved into the Yellow Tier, which is the least restrictive of the four, on Oct. 20, offering a glimmer of hope that high schools could return to in-person learning in the foreseeable future. San Francisco is the first urban city in California to achieve Yellow Tier status as well as the first county in the Bay Area, which will allow non-essential offices to open with limited capacity.
With the return to in-person learning on the forefront of many minds, the school will have certain safety precautions in place, having worked with Capsid Consulting, an infectious disease consultant. Students have a responsibility to follow these guidelines to maintain safety on a campus that houses over a thousand students, faculty and staff.
For some, being at home is beneficial to their learning style, but for most teens, staying in their house and learning over Zoom can be difficult and being on campus is essential to their educational capabilities and mental health.
Community members have a duty to the school and each other to make decisions responsibly and to keep the good of the greater community in mind. Even if one person is not high risk, that does not mean she might not inadvertently affect someone who is or who has a family member who is at risk.
The new schedule will limit the number of people students are with everyday, which can prevent exposure as well as simplify contact tracing. There are the obvious violations that would counteract this, such as attending large social gatherings, but seemingly harmless situations such getting lunch on Fillmore and sitting indoors maskless with a friend in the same booth could have similar repercussions.
The cohorts created by the new class schedule will assure that within classes students will come into contact with the same people everyday for weeks.
While in-person learning may seem like a permanent return to normalcy, staying on campus is not a guarantee. After returning to campus a few weeks ago, Marin Catholic High School suspended in-person learning for two weeks after receiving reports of a party and disregard for social distancing.
At an all-girls school, sights like girls lounging on each other and sharing meals are frequent, but something as simple as sharing a water bottle could shut down in-person learning for everyone.