Covid cases require more transparency, communication


Dana Gaudette

Opinion Editor Brianna Tang writes that school guidelines need to change to more effectively control COVID-19 in the Algonquin community.

Brianna Tang, Opinion Editor

As of this Sunday, Oct. 18, Massachusetts has surpassed 140,000 coronavirus cases with 744 new cases and 14 more deaths, making it one of the highest days since spring. Southborough, among 63 communities in Massachusetts, is currently considered a high-risk town, and has been for at least the past week. Our schools have at least more than a handful of cases, and so do many other schools in the state. Yet despite this rise in cases, there has been no changes to our school’s guidelines, sports practices and games are still happening, and high schoolers are still partying.

While our community has taken the necessary precautions and put in a lot of effort to keep our schools safe, they are still not enough. There needs to be more transparency, for example reporting the exact number of cases and reevaluating the guidelines for what is considered a “close contact”. From my own experiences in school and on sports so far, I know I have come in contact with way more people than what would necessarily be deemed as a “close contact” by our current definition. The virus has proven to be highly contagious, and it would not require less than six feet of distance for 10-15 minutes to spread amongst students. Although there are privacy factors to take into account, it should be the bare minimum for students that were in the same classrooms, sports teams, and cohort to be notified with as much information as possible and as soon as possible through emails. We can’t keep downplaying the risks and numbers. 

Our school and state should also reevaluate policies in regards to sports and other activities. I have seen many sports practices held with students not properly wearing their masks or sometimes not even wearing them at all. As a runner on the cross country team, I know it’s hard to keep masks on, especially during harder practices or games. However with these clear violations, our current situation has made me question whether sports are still worth the risk. Especially since keeping our schools open should be the priority. 

Lastly and most importantly, high schoolers need to stop throwing parties and hanging out in huge groups. It’s selfish and putting others at risk. I know I’ve definitely broken social distancing with my close friends, but trying to hang out in small or fixed groups of friends with masks, or spending time outdoors, can definitely make a difference. Multiple schools around us have been shut down due to specific groups of students deciding to throw a party, and our school has had its own handful of parties with apparent consequences. The school can only do so much, and in the end, it’s up to the students to be responsible for their actions. 

Given that it’s only October, we have no idea what will happen as winter approaches. It’ll most likely only get worse, so we need to make changes to our schools and communities now, as well as keeping students accountable for their actions, for a chance at staying in school.