photo by Julia Poppa
Another round of quarantine has hit NASH. Just weeks after the first batch of students was sent home due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, a second wave of students is now being forced to quarantine.
On October 7th, more than a few NASH students received an email notifying them that they had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 and that they were not to return to school for two weeks. The students were directed to stay at home and learn remotely until the end of these two weeks.
“It’s really boring,” said junior Bridget Paytas, one of the students required to quarantine. “I picked the hybrid model for a reason.”
Per CDC guidelines, students will not be allowed back at NASH until October 19th, even with a negative COVID-19 test.
The situation has disrupted many students’ lives, as quarantined students cannot attend any extracurriculars or events at North Allegheny. For senior Will Palicki, it is an especially hard blow.
“I just got nominated for Homecoming court, which is something that I was really excited about,” Palicki said, “but the game is on the last day of my quarantine, so as of now, I don’t believe I will be able to participate.”
For some students, this is not the first time they have had to quarantine. Junior Morgan Nash was part of the first group of students sent home on September 13th, and merely two weeks since she has been back, she is once again forced to quarantine.
“Out of the total 14 days of school I should have been to in person, I will have been quarantined for eight of those days,” Nash said. “I’ve been quarantined a total of roughly 57% of the school year so far. After my first quarantine, I decided to give hybrid another chance. Man, did I make the wrong choice.”
The recent quarantine has imposed a problem on students in regard to the quality of their education, many of whom feel that online school presents many more challenges.
“In some classes, it’s evident that learning online isn’t exactly without flaw,” junior Hannah Oldham said. “Sometimes, I’ll just zone off or tune out what the teacher is saying because of distractions around me.”
Another concern on quarantined students’ minds is the impact that remote learning will have had on their mental health at the end of the two weeks.
“Being forced to sit at a laptop for hours on end is immensely degrading my mental health,” said senior Faith Nguyen. “I struggle to pay attention, and even just today I’ve had problems with connectivity on Blackboard, despite countless messages between myself and the help desk.”
Nash echoed these sentiments.
“It is so unrealistic for our teachers to expect us to perform at the same level that we’d normally perform at when we are quite literally fearing for the lives of our families and ourselves,” Nash said.
According to the North Allegheny COVID-19 tracker, there are currently 306 students and staff in active quarantine. As the pandemic continues, it is uncertain how many more there will be in the future. As of now, North Allegheny is simply enforcing guidelines and sending students home when needed.
For junior Alok Shah, this quarantine is challenging but overall necessary for the benefit of all students and staff.
“This really stinks, but safety is what’s important,” he said. “Quarantining will be disappointing, but it’s for the greater good, and that alone should serve as motivation to get you through it.”