Opinion: COVID-19 regulations are safer for all students

Opinion: COVID-19 regulations are safer for all students

As schools navigate between finding a new normal or shifting back to pre-covid procedures, the question still stands: is it time to go back to normal? Student activities, including sports, performances, fine arts, and events, are reducing restrictions, which means no required masks and more spectators/participants. 

Making masks optional may make students more comfortable, but it leaves them more vulnerable to spreading covid. Required masks create a layer of protection so students can safely continue their activities. Additionally, masks are minimally invasive and many activities that students need to take off their mask for optimal performance still have a barrier for times that they are in close contact with each other. For example, during sports, students may not wear masks while playing, however, they can still wear masks when off the court as a barrier for those around them. 

Last year, the amount of possible spectators at sports events slowly eased back to normal. The spectator capacity was decided by the Arizona Interscholastic Association who chose whether or not it was safe for schools to have spectators. This allowed for fans who were more at risk, like grandparents, to support their athlete with less worry about a crowded spectator stand. Towards the end of the year, each school was able to choose how many spectators were allowed at home games according to their judgement. Now, all students and spectators are allowed to attend games without masks which could possibly lead to another surge in cases. 

School dances bring another set of concerns. With sweaty students in a mosh pit, it’s near impossible to pinpoint who they were next to at all times. Especially with cases still continuing to rise in CUSD without holding a dance for 2000+ students, some coronavirus restrictions, such as masks, create a safer experience for students while still getting normal high school experiences. 

Students at a particularly high risk of covid, or those who are just cautious, deserve equal chances to experience high school. If more restrictions were set in place, it ensures that more students feel comfortable participating in activities and gaining a similar high school that high schoolers dream to have. 

Even disregarding covid, mitigation strategies while in classes are simple solutions for most students to continue being in in-person class; such mitigation strategies include distanced seating, following arrows and mandatory masks. Currently, CUSD requires distanced seating of 3 feet from other students and following a pathway in the hallways. 

The students who feel safe with mitigation strategies are more likely to come to school while students are also more protected from other sicknesses, such as the common cold or the flu. 

In order for all students to feel safe enough to come back to school and continue coming back to school, precautionary regulations are the best solution to ensure that student activities do not influence the school to go online for another year. Doing so would only put any sort of high school experience on hold again.