By Eamonn Burke
Greenfield Central Junior High School in Indiana opened on Thursday, as one of the first high schools to do so in the country. Within hours, the school had to quarantine when a student tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. It appears that the student was tested days before and went to school without knowing the results.
The emergency “Positive COVID-19 Test Protocol” that went into action following the testing involved isolating the student and a two week quarantine order for those who had come in contact. The schools superintendent, Harold E. Olin, knew the situation was coming but was “shocked it was on Day 1.” Nonetheless, Olin said in a letter that “It was very evident today that nearly all of our families and students were prepared to properly follow the safety protocols we have established”.
This comes amidst a national debate over the re-opening of schools in the fall. While most major school districts have announced a remote start, some in places like Texas and Florida, where the virus is running rampant, plan to open in the fall. Teachers unions have been vehemently opposing an in-person opening, threatening and executing lawsuits and strikes to make their point. They put pressure on Trump’s administration, who is urging for children to get back to school.
Further complicating matters is a study from Northwestern and a Chicago Pediatric Hospital found that children five years and younger carry the virus in high concentrations, although a study on their transmission rate has not been conducted.
On top of all the virus concerns is that of the mental health and success of students who are learning virtually. This spans everything from eye health to sleep patterns to ability to socialize. In addition, it can be harder for many students to pay attention and retain material when studying from home.