Rise in National COVID-19 Cases Prompts School Response

Photo+illustration+purchased+from+Bigstock.com.

Photo illustration purchased from Bigstock.com.

Natalie Kozhemiakin

In recent weeks, the U.S. has seen a rapid rise in positive COVID-19 cases. As of November 20, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a total of 11,465,722 COVID-19 cases in the U.S, and 199,414 in Massachusetts alone.

“The overall percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for COVID-19 increased from 8.4% during week 44 to 10.5% during week 45. Percent positivity increased among all age groups,” the CDC’s COVID-19 dashboard states.

This substantial increase in cases has made the health and safety conditions of schools come into question.

As Thanksgiving break approaches, many schools have taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students, as many people traditionally travel across the nation for the holiday and gather with friends and family, putting them at risk of infection.

The School plans to welcome students back to their campus after Thanksgiving break, with mandated COVID-19 tests for the entirety of the student body, faculty, and staff following the return from Thanksgiving break.

The School’s COVID Response Team (CRT), which convenes weekly to discuss the most effective ways to ensure the safety of the community, published an update to its COVID testing plan on November 13.

Middle School Head Carl Rapisarda-Vallely is confident in the School’s plan to return to school after Thanksgiving.

“Testing the entire community is the right thing to do, and I am proud of our School’s dedication to staying in school while also prioritizing safety,” Vallely said.

In collaboration with Gator Nation News, Head of School Judy Guild released a public service announcement urging students to take safety precautions during the break.

Despite the extensive precautionary measures being taken to protect the School community, many students continue to feel skeptical about the return.

“I really hope that we will return after break and was originally optimistic that we will, but recently, I have questioned whether or not this will be possible,” Talia Hammer ’23 said. “I think that if we do return to school, we would only be there for at least a couple weeks. But If it is possible, I would really like to go back after break because I prefer in-person learning.”

The November 13 CRT Update.
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