School has put adequate COVID-19 protocols in place

May 14, 2021 — by Ethan Lin

Basic guidelines for COVID safety policies are established through social distancing, as well as maintaining a clean environment.

The school’s COVID-19 safety policies maintain the safety of students while still allowing for an effective learning environment.

To allow for a smooth transition into Phase 3B and ultimately Phase 4A on May 3, the school started enforcing many COVID-19 safety measures to ensure the safety of students and staff. A mandatory health survey and checklist through an app called Screener 19 must be completed before coming to school each day, in addition to scanning into each classroom for the purpose of contact tracing.  

The district’s effort to maintain strict COVID-19 safety protocols has been largely effective, with only a few students and staff being exposed to the virus. The vast majority of cases so far have come from other schools during sports games. 

The requirement for all students to wear masks is a standard in most schools; however, not every school has students who adhere to such policies consistently. At Saratoga High, however, upon walking through the school’s hallways, students can be seen constantly wearing masks throughout the day, though social distancing isn’t as easy or natural to maintain. 

In addition to students contributing to the effort of maintaining solid health protocols, most teachers and staff were fully vaccinated before returning to in-person learning. On April 15, students ages 16 and older were granted eligibility for the vaccine, and with students aged 12-15 also eligible starting on May 10 — vaccines provide an even stronger layer of protection for student safety. 

Additionally, teachers have planned their classroom layout beforehand to accommodate for social distancing between students while still allowing students to have a clear view of the white board. This allows students to receive quality education but still adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Many teachers also require students to clean their desks and chairs with disinfecting wipes at the end of each class, thus helping maintain a clean learning environment. 

For extracurricular activities — particularly sports —  masks are required to be worn at all times as well. The district also requires students who play indoor sports to take COVID-19 swab tests prior to each game. This is an important consideration, as contact sports, like basketball, have high susceptibility of spreading the virus. Because students who don’t get swab tested prior to the game are not allowed to play, students who want to participate in their sport are incentivized to get tested regularly.

With students adhering to proper safety precautions and the school doing an effective job of maintaining high health standards, students and staff have, for the most part, been safe from the virus and will continue to be. Ultimately, the COVID-19 safety policy that the district has maintained is sufficient in preventing the spread of the virus and will be loosened if the number of cases and hospitalizations in the county continue to trend downward.