Quarantine . . . again!

The return to in-person learning

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Photo illustration Sammy Smith

Senior Sydney Kasperbauer models the two sides of mask wearing. “While masks are necessary for the health and safety of our community, I believe that they create more distance between friends because they hinder our ability to express emotion,” Kasperbauer said.

After Spring Break week, it is no surprise that some COVID-19 was brought back to Conifer.  Restrictions may be lifting in other states and counties, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that COVID-19 is getting better, especially in schools.  

Since returning to the fully in-person learning option, there have been multiple different exposure events at CHS.  

Almost immediately after the return from spring break, a total of 114 students and one teacher were directed to stay at home for 10 days.  All quarantined people must wait until day five to get a test.  For now, the rule at Conifer is that even if someone tests negative for COVID-19, they must continue to quarantine for a full seven days before returning to school.  Quarantined students are expected to join their classes online while they are at home, which isn’t the best option for everyone.  

“The quarantine following spring break was very boring and not enjoyable, especially having to learn online because the teachers aren’t trying their hardest with the online students.  I feel as though I gained nothing during that week of school,” freshman Cassidy Martin said.  

Quarantines are for the safety of students and teachers, but not everyone thinks it makes sense to have to stay quarantined for a full seven days even with a negative test on day five.  

“I think it’s silly.  If you test negative on day five and it’s a long test, you should be able to come back,” sophomore Ella Genender said.  

How does the quarantine call change after vaccinations?  The rules for staying at home change for people who have had both of their COVID-19 vaccines for two weeks or more.  Since many teachers have had their vaccines for that length of time, they haven’t had to quarantine when their students have.  

The 114 quarantined students from the first two weeks returned to in-person learning last week, starting with the group exposed in the first week after spring break.  There are now new groups of students from new exposures last week, one resulting in the Trail To Oregon being postponed.  The exposure was not in the cast, but enough members are down that the show can’t run without them.  40 students are quarantined right now.

Jeffco says that if five cohorts of students have to quarantine within a 14-day period, then the school must go remote for 14 days.  After the first two weeks back, three cohorts were down.  Now there are two – three cohorts down in the current 14 day period.  If two or three more cohorts of exposure go to quarantine, the entire school may have to follow that quarantine and go remote for two weeks.  Although not currently close to shutting down, CHS is still very affected by COVID-19, especially the students who are quarantining, and the cast of Oregon Trail.  

Because of the ongoing quarantines, school policies are not changing.  While it is not a foolproof way to avoid the virus, CHS still requires masks, and congregating in large groups in the commons is still not recommended.