Tribal stand | New year, new wando Covid-19 regulations
Another school year has started. Despite hopes for a normal year, COVID has disrupted the normal daily routine for students and faculty at Wando.
Last year’s option for online courses via Zoom is not available this school year. Students have the option of returning to school in person or taking classes virtually through VirtualSC. However, virtual classes are taught by state instructors and not by Wando staff.
One-way hallways from last year have also been scrapped, all hallways are two-way again, and plexiglass dividers no longer protect desks.
However, the most impactful change in the minds of many students and faculties has been the lack of a mask requirement. Last school year, a mask requirement required all students and staff to wear a mask on school grounds.
On August 16, 2021, the Charleston County School District mandated the wearing of masks this year at all CCSD events and locations. However, the wearing of the mask could not be enforced due to the state’s ban on mask warrants. Masks were still highly recommended until mid-September.
Over the summer and into the new school year, however, COVID cases have steadily increased to the highest level the state has seen so far in the pandemic. The Delta variant, more transmissible than the original strain, caused the tick to rise in cases. The variant is also more effective in cases of breakthrough, infecting more vaccinees than the original strain. More than 6,000 cases statewide were reported on September 3.
One of the causes of the increase in cases is a low vaccination rate. South Carolina’s rate is just below 47%, at 46.9% fully vaccinated as of September 26. According to the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, COVID vaccines are very effective against death, serious illness, and hospitalization from COVID, as well as being effective against contracting the virus in the first place.
“More than 6,000 cases statewide were reported on September 3. “
– George Bagwell
A few outbreaks have ruled out sports teams from Wando. Wando JV’s first football game was canceled and the players had to be quarantined. A case on the JV support team also resulted in the quarantine of that team members. Wando’s college football team also had their week two game in Summerville called off after positive test results on the team.
However, if a student is considered close contact and is vaccinated, they will not be required to self-quarantine. If a student is quarantined, they are not allowed on school grounds during the period and all work must be completed virtually.
A September 13 CCSD school board meeting resulted in an 8-0 vote to enforce the mask mandate on county school grounds and events, effective Monday, September 20. Although a mandate was adopted earlier this school year, the wearing of the mask was not enforced in the schoolyard. With the new mandate, this is subject to change despite a state budget provision prohibiting the application of such mandates.
The school district is using federal funds to enforce the mask requirement starting September 20. The budget provision prohibiting previous mandates restricted the use of state funds by the district to enforce mask mandates. Therefore, teachers are not allowed to apply the policy since they are paid by the state. However, Wando will call on outside resources to enforce the new mandate, remaining within the limits of the reserve. For now, these regulations are concrete, but depending on the evolution of COVID-19, these concepts may change and adapt.