With school now back in person, Cal High and other district schools are following many safety protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Despite these safety measures, which include a mask requirement for everyone while indoors, Cal has reported 23 positive COVID-19 case as of Oct. 11, according to the district’s case dashboard.
When someone contracts the virus, school protocol affects both the sick person and the people they come in contact with.
One sophomore boy, who contracted COVID-19 two separate times, is intimately familiar with coronavirus protocol. The boy, who is not being named because of medical privacy issues, said he tested positive for COVID-19 in August and stayed home after initially catching the virus a year and a half ago in March of 2020.
The boy said the virus made him very sick the first time, but when he tested positive again this August, he had no symptoms.
Cal’s COVID protocol made the boy feel safer and reassured that more people weren’t getting sick because of him.
“It wasn’t helpful with school, though,” the boy said. “It was hard to keep up with all the work from home.”
The protocol when he first got sick was nonexistent because school was online. Still, he missed almost a month of learning.
When the boy caught COVID-19 the second time in August, new protocols required him to stay home for a week and get tested twice since he wasn’t vaccinated.
“The protocol has worked so far this year,” the boy said. “The office told all my friends and people I was around that they had to get tested for COVID-19 and test negative to go back.”
The school district is strict about students who have tested positive or have been exposed to COVID-19.
These students have to leave campus to be tested, assistant principal Nicole Main said. Students can only return once they test negative.
“Students who do end up testing positive and showing symptoms have to go through a strict protocol,” Main said.
Main said that when the school receives notice that an individual on campus has tested positive for COVID-19, it first checks when symptoms started or if they’re not symptomatic,” Main said.
“Then we go back about 48 hours and we retrace their steps on campus for 48 hours leading up to where they tested positive,” Main said.”
For contact tracing, if a person is fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms, they are allowed to continue at school. It’s recommended the person get tested but not required, according to districts protocols.
But anyone who not vaccinated and is exposed to someone who tests positive may have to quarantine at home until they test negative depending on if both were masked..
For Cal nurse Niko Holmes, the workload has never been this heavy. Holmes must make sure everyone understands the protocols and that they are being followed. Parents whose students came into contact with someone with COVID-19 have contacted her in confusion about the protocols, asking why their kids can’t go back to school.
“The protocols are fine as is,” Holmes said.