COVID 101 With MHS Principal Mrs. Clain

Mrs. Clain anwers questions and gives an overview of protocols for when someone gets sick at MHS.

Sela Breen, Editor-In-Chief

With the first cases of Covid-19 emerging at Mamaroneck High School, it is important for everyone to understand the procedures that will be followed when there is a case and the reasoning behind said procedures. Compiled from emails sent out to parents, documents posted on the district website, and interviews with Ms. Clain, here is the most crucial information to know on how MHS is handling cases at the high school. 

What happens when someone tests positive for Covid-19? 

When a case in a student is reported to the school, the school immediately contacts all teachers, and parents of children who have classes or advisory with the student who tested positive. These students and teachers must then leave school immediately and begin quarantining for two weeks from their last contact with the ill student. When a case in a teacher is reported to the school, the school immediately contacts all parents of children who are in the teacher’s class. These students then proceed the same way as they would when a student tests positive by quarantining for two weeks since their last contact.

What does “direct contact” mean?

“Direct contact” is defined as contact with an infected person for a prolonged period of time. In the context of MHS, one would only be a direct contact if they have spent over twenty minutes in a classroom with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. Only these people, direct contacts, need to quarantine for two weeks if there is a case.

How was this precaution system developed? What were its goals?

This precaution system was developed with close attention paid to CDC guidelines and an abundance of caution. But, ultimately, the goal was to get students in front of teachers for as much time as possible while still being safe. Ms. Clain expressed this sentiment when speaking of the planning for the school year that she and other administrators spent weeks on, saying “We prioritized getting kids into the building…so that we can see [them] face to face.”

Is the school ever going to go fully remote?

When speaking with administration, they feel that it is inevitable that the school goes fully remote for at least some period of time, even with all of the safety precautions implemented. Ms. Clain explained that the reason they believe fully remote school is inevitable is not that the administration is predicting a spike in cases, but because of the personnel issue that will result from just a few positive cases. For example, if more than two or three students test positive for Covid-19, then all of their teachers will have to quarantine. Because most teachers teach upwards of four classes a day, the lack of teachers in person will cause the school to shut down. This problem is worsened by the fact that substitute teachers are few and far between with the pandemic.

Is the school ever going to go back to 100% capacity? 

As of right now, there is no plan to get 100% of students in the building at the same time. But, this is obviously the sense of normalcy that is ultimately the goal for everyone.