It’s been 14 days since the Pinal County Health Department made the decision to close the CHS campus because roughly 450 students and 20 staff members were directed to quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure.
With on-campus classes resuming today, students who attended classes in-person prior to the closure had to weigh the decision about how they’d be continuing their learning.
“I thought about doing online because all the concern about COVID cases rising but I had to look at the bigger picture,” senior Mya Richards said, “I am really involved in the theater program at out school and I really would like to be there for the after school events.
Roughly 6 percent of students surveyed indicated they would be switching back to virtual instruction instead of continuing on-campus instruction. With the overwhelming majority of in-person students electing to come back to campus, few felt there was no need to add any new safety precautions on campus. Some advocated that students continue social distancing, carry hand sanitizer, and to wear masks properly. But Freshman Jordan Horton had something else in mind.
“Always remember that COVID is out there, and if you’re able to get it don’t shake peoples hands and try to be safe,” Horton said.
The community was notified about the campus closure after the end of the school day on Wednesday, October 14.
“Effective immediately, the Pinal County Public Health Department will conduct an investigation, which includes notification of close contacts to ensure necessary testing takes place. If your child is identified asa close contact to a positive case, you will be directly contacted by the Pinal County Public HealthDepartment.” Greg Wyman said in a letter released to the community.
When Junior Amaya Martinez saw this email she was devastated.
“I was really scared. This was more because my mom had gotten a call from the Arizona Health Department saying that I had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID,” Martinez said, “Getting that notification is heart wrenching knowing that you could be the reason your old parents (one with heart problems) could end up in the hospital.”
Just because students decide to go back to school it doesn’t mean they’re afraid or don’t have doubts about returning to in person.
I’m returning to school for my mental health. I know if I were to continue online, one day, I would just completely break down,” Martinez said, “I am excited to get back into the groove of things, especially with my extra curricular activities. At the same time, I do feel nerves and almost hesitation for going back.”
Though the majority of the campus population returned to school on Thursday, nearly 80 percent think this won’t be the last time they will be back at home learning from their computers, tablets or cell phones.
“I believe the school will close a few more times because of how stupid us teenagers are,” sophomore Carlos Viera said.