NASH COVID-19 cases currently sit at zero

North Allegheny Senior High School is keeping coronavirus cases as low as possible.

Students+and+staff+at+NASH+are+masking+up+and+keeping+a+distance+to++keep+COVID-19+cases+at+zero.

photo by Anthony Durzo

Students and staff at NASH are masking up and keeping a distance to keep COVID-19 cases at zero.

Anthony Durzo, News Editor

We are now almost two months into the 2021-2022 school year, and unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to be concluded. Masks and social distancing guidelines are still required in PA schools, but at NASH things are aiming upward. 

“We currently have no active cases of COVID-19 at NASH,” Sherry Stamp, the school nurse, said. 

The last student who was forced into quarantine returned to in-person instruction just last week. Overall, in the past two months, Stamp says NASH has been doing a fine job keeping the number of COVID cases at the bare minimum, compared to last year where over 100 students were forced to quarantine.

“I would estimate that we have had fewer than 25 people quarantined in this entire school year [so far],” Stamp explained.

Allegheny County, too, is keeping COVID cases lower and vaccination rates high when compared to other counties in Pennsylvania. 

In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Allegheny County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases per day has been no more than 650 in the past two months. Also in Allegheny County is where the vaccination rate has shown a number of over 700,000 shots since the COVID-19 vaccine was administered. 

Back at NASH, according to Stamp, the vaccine rate amongst students and faculty members is also on the rise. This is believed to be the reason why NASH has seen no more than five confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past month and a half. 

Because of the low numbers of cases within the school, social distancing guidelines have been eased but not put away. One big change compared to the 2020-2021 school year is the change in the six-foot social distancing protocol. 

I think that people are just really happy to be back in school. As a result, I think they are willing to do what it takes to be here.”

— Sherry Stamp, School Nurse

“In a school setting, because we are masked, it is only a three-feet guideline,” Stamp explained.

Stamp added that during the last school year, anyone who was even once within a six-foot radius within a someone who had confirmed COVID-19 cases was subjected to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.  

Today, if anyone is within a three-foot radius with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 case, they are subject to quarantine only if they are unvaccinated. This change is also the reason why there have been fewer than 30 students quarantined this school year. 

With a lower number of students in remote learning, in-person learning feels a bit more normal, which is, in Stamp’s opinion, the reason why so many students are willing to follow these guidelines in order to stay in school.

“I think that people are just really happy to be back in school. As a result, I think they are willing to do what it takes to be here,” Stamp said. 

Unfortunately, Stamp says that does not refer to every student. She touched upon the daily hassle of hounding students to “pull it up.”

“We see a lot of kids walking by [with masks] below their nose or on their chin,” she added. “It’s normal to give those little reminders” 

While the majority of NASH students are coming to attend in-person instruction following a regular five-day schedule, some students are still attending school through a screen. There are fewer than 200 students still enrolled in the North Allegheny Cybery Academy (NACA), which is significantly less than the NACA enrollment last school year. 

Because of the release of vaccinations and a low number of positive COVID-19 cases, Stamp believes that most district families feel relatively safe sending their children back to the classroom.

“I think that people have relaxed a little bit and feel more comfortable coming back into the in-person learning environment,” Stamp said.