This year, D-38 is trying its best to take care of us and keep everyone safe. While there are some obvious mandates in place (masks, social distancing, etc.), there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to following COVID-19 guidelines.
If a student or staff member exhibits symptoms, investigators like Mr. McCorkle have to go through a strenuous process depending on many aspects of the situation.
“…If they call and they say they have symptoms, the questions we start asking are ‘Have you been around anybody that’s been considered/presumed positive?'” McCorkle said in an interview. “If the answer is no, we treat that person as possibly not having a bigger effect on everybody else because there’s still other illnesses out there. Not everything’s COVID-19.”
If someone does exhibit specific COVID-19 symptoms, the investigation team has four days to figure out if said person has COVID-19 or not and to practice contact tracing. For example, if someone starts showing symptoms and came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus two days earlier, the investigation team treats that person as being potentially positive as well.
The team then does contact tracing to track down anyone who that person came in contact with in the past two days. Those people are required to go into a 14-day quarantine. If the presumed positive person gets better over the next 48 hours or tests negative for COVID-19, the quarantine is ended on those who were close contacts. However, if the presumed positive person gets worse or tests positive for COVID-19, the quarantine may be extended for those who were close contacts.
But what is a “close contact” defined as? Usually, someone is considered a close contact if they spent an extended period of time around someone presumed positive without taking proper safety measures (wearing a mask/socially distancing).
“It’s a huge process,” Mr. McCorkle told me. “It’s tough because… everyone I’ve had to quarantine, I’ve spoken firsthand to mom and dad and let them know, ‘Hey this is where we’re at, make sure you contact your teachers, you’re keeping up and going to distance learning for this period of time’ and it should be a smooth transition. It doesn’t look the same, and we know that, but we still have to provide the opportunity for the students during that time.”
“It doesn’t look the same, and we know that, but we still have to provide the opportunity for the students during that time.”
Lance McCorkle, Athletic Director/Assistant Principal
While PRHS and the rest of District 38 are doing their part to keep COVID-19 symptoms at a minimum, it’s important that both the staff and students do their part as well. Wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay socially distanced whenever you can.