As we approach a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic, how we decide to move on with our personal safety is completely up to us. With our usual spots steadily opening back up, making the right and safe choices is of utmost importance. Many hospitals and other high-traffic areas have implemented screening exams before allowing entrance into the building. For most areas, this exam usually consists of a list questions like the following: Have you or anyone in your household tested positive for COVID-19? Have you or anyone in your household experienced unusual symptoms? Have you or anyone in your household traveled to high risk states within the past 14 days? Those who answered no to all of these questions and have a temperature below 100º F are granted entrance.
Although screening exams such as these are designed to try to stay as precautious as possible, their effectiveness has yet to be determined. Students participating in the hybrid A/B model must also complete a variation of these screening tests. The screening attestation asks four basic questions regarding possible symptoms as well as questions regarding whether the respondent has traveled to any high-risk areas. In order to enter the building, students must answer “no” to the questions and input their contact information.
“Although screening exams such as these are designed to try to stay as precautious as possible, their effectiveness has yet to be determined...”
“I like the system, and after the first few days, it went smoothly. The only thing I am skeptical about is that the kids may not be doing the screening test honestly,” said NHP security guard Ms. Maria Fosso.
This system seemed to be working until New Hyde Park was found to have over four positive cases of COVID-19, which resulted in school closure for almost a whole week. The recent events prompt the questions: Is the current student screening approach effective? Could the school have prevented the positive cases if there were temperature checks and other precautions in place?
Although a variety of precautions have been enacted, there are still many grievances that we make that may increase our exposure to the virus. The efficacy in masks must be maintained for the virus to be contained; however, it is the casual manner in which masks are treated that only continues to increase our chances of exposure. At its worst, wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience that is far outweighed by its potential to save lives.
Source by Sydney Hargrove, @sydneysscrapbook
Students must complete the daily screening to enter the building, but the effectiveness of this precaution is still unknown.
The occurrences of students and teachers incorrectly wearing masks or simply removing them because they are “far enough away” is deeply unsettling. This type of behavior creates an uncomfortable and unsafe environment that is starting to become normalized. The way in which students and staff remove their masks while eating is an aspect that is generally overlooked. Although this is not where the problem lies, it is the desire to eat lunch with peers that kickstarts the activity of eating without masks near others who are less than six feet apart. It is important that people learn to take accountability for putting so many people at risk and that viable consequences are enforced for those who participate in behavior that promotes this perilous environment. It is completely unfair for the whole school to sacrifice in-person school days because of closures due to the carelessness and selfishness of a select few.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 has sparked the importance of not only individual responsibility but also the local community’s responsibility to keep everyone safe, including mandated social distancing, limited entry into public facilities, as well as required facial coverings in public and private locations. However, all across the nation and the world, there have been many new cases of the deadly virus due to gatherings where safety protocols were neglected. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have only shown an increase in teen parties where masks and safety measures are not evident, putting not only the partygoers but also their families and communities at risk for exposure.
“It is completely unfair for the whole school to sacrifice in-person school days because of closures due to the carelessness and selfishness of a select few...we have not rounded the corner just yet...”
The sacrifices each and every person made during the five-month quarantine will be virtually worthless if we wear masks without covering both our noses and mouths. Hand sanitizer will be useless to stop a community outbreak if we are constantly gathering together and continuing to hug and shake hands. Social distancing does not change a thing if we stay six feet apart at school after attending crowded parties on the weekends where no guidelines are in place.
While we cannot control the decisions of others, we can ensure that we follow the correct precautionary measures through upperclassmen and authority figures setting precedents for the community as a whole. Let us all work together to make New Hyde Park Memorial as a whole be the example. Take advantage of the technology we have today to have a virtual lunch with friends and family. Use masks as an accessory to complement an outfit every day instead of seeing it as a burden. Remember to bring an extra hoodie to class and ask your teachers to open the windows if they forget. Educate your peers on the importance of reevaluating their decisions that may put others at risk. Speak up when you see others dismissing the proper precautions that could save countless lives. One small action could change the fate for us all; we have not rounded the corner just yet.