COVID-19 at North

Claire Hong

In recent months, it has been hard not to notice the emptiness of John W. North from absences due to COVID-19 or exposure to it. The amount of absences has skyrocketed this year, coming back after a year of online school and a pandemic. This has had an unfortunate effect on not only the learning environment for students and teachers but also the school itself, which has experienced less funding due to attendance. 

The lack of information except for direct alerts or emails about exposure has kept much information confidential and missing from circulation.

Junior Zoe Borja said, “I’m guessing maybe 100 people are out right now. A lot of classes seem to have about 10-20% of the class missing.”

Coming back from winter break, around seventeen teachers were out due to COVID-19 or exposure to it, many returning within the week. Student attendance has been particularly rough, with almost double the amount of students missing from before the pandemic. Our numbers before had been around 260 missing, while our numbers now range from 400 to more students absent every day. The mix between online and in-person assignments makes it difficult for those out with the virus or due to exposure to receive the proper material for class, with many assignments not accessible or able to be completed completely online. 

Some concern with coming back in person was due to many students and staff being at risk to catch COVID-19, especially with the new variants and daily close proximity. Omicron and Delta are two of the main concerns, especially with how contagious the virus is and the number of students having close contact with each other. Many students are either high risk themselves, or have to come home to family members that are in particular danger of passing away or getting very sick from the virus. Whether this is due to medical complications, being unable to get the vaccines, or simply choosing not to, some students feel more stressed about ensuring they don’t catch or carry it to those at risk. However, staying in person unfortunately is necessary to the school’s funding, along with much pressure being placed on coming back in person. 

Junior Mary Ogbogu said, “I think that consequences of staying open would be having to risk being exposed to COVID-19 or catching COVID-19. Being in-person puts people’s lives in danger. But, the consequences of being virtual would be students falling behind during virtual classes, and also people are dealing with mental health issues as they’re staying home.”

Sports are struggling to rebuild or continue with some of the restrictions placed, along with many sports having to cancel practices or games due to positive cases and close contact. The gap between the end of the 2019 school year and the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year made it hard for incoming freshmen or sophomores to join sports or want to be involved with school activities. This forces sports and clubs to recruit and rebuild during this year and the coming 2022-2023 school year.

While many still argue being online would be much better than the current situation, going back online comes with its own share of problems. The mental effect and strain of being completely online, along with the inability to be involved with many school sports and activities serve as a deterrent to many. School funding would suffer, and many students that are unable to find peace or security in their home would suffer in both school and quality of life.