The resilience of Campion Academy students and staff was tested over the last few weeks as there was a spike in students attending classes online due to mild symptoms and COVID policies.
In order to reduce the chance of viral spread, this year any student experiencing any potential COVID symptoms, even if they are mild, is put on “sick list”. In addition, close contacts, such as roommates, also cannot attend classes even if they are not symptomatic.
If a student on sick list cannot easily return home, he or she must stay in their dorm room alone or move to a guest room to be isolated. The deans and school nurse check on them regularly and bring them to-go tray meals from the cafeteria. The students are expected to continue to attend their classes virtually unless they have more severe symptoms.
Angel V. was never sick, but he was on sick list for several days because his roommate had symptoms. He commented, “At first, I was excited because I would be in my warm room, have my food delivered to me, and be in my bed during class. After the second day, my excitement was gone. I missed my friends, it was difficult to understand class because of the Zoom audio quality, and there was nothing to do in my room. I spent most of my day working out and finishing homework. I also texted and called my family and friends to keep myself from dying of boredom.”
Any student with symptoms is being taken for COVID testing as soon as possible. Over 20 students have been tested in the month of October and all of them have returned negative. After a negative test result, the student and close contacts can return to classes as long as they are no longer symptomatic.
Thankfully, with the negative test results and mild illnesses, the isolation time for students has generally been just a few days. However, those few days stuck in a room have been a good reminder to students that in-person school with COVID policies is preferable to Zoom in quarantine.
“Being on the list can make you lonely for sure, but I’m just thankful we have the opportunity to be here and not go online,” reflected Haley E. “Being on sick list isn’t everyone’s dream, but it’s better than being sent home.”
Students have been heard shouting for joy when they get negative COVID test results and can return to normal school life, and the teachers and other staff members are just as relieved. Having multiple students on sick list has been a stressor for teachers trying to deliver content to students both in-person and online, the staff members driving students to get tested, the deans and nurse checking on their status and well-being, and even the cafeteria staff preparing dozens of to-go trays to send to the rooms.
Head Dean of Men, Michael Gann says that even though caring for students isolated in their rooms can create extra work, he takes it in stride. “For me, it’s just another aspect of the job to embrace. Our role is to take care of and provide for these students and give them a safe and healthy place to live. When they are sick we take care of them; it’s just part of our role. No one wants to be stuck in a room for a couple of days, but it reminds us that we are all vulnerable, and we need to keep doing our part with hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing.”
Despite the sick list woes, thankfully, most of the students have been recovering quickly from minor cold-like illnesses, and Campion heads into the last month of the semester COVID free.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director