Quarantine policies remain too extreme

Keira Coleman, Staff writer

I have not caught the COVID-19 virus — as far as I am aware — and I have been quarantined once. But seeing how the virus can affect its victims both physically and mentally, I’ve realized how controlling it is. 

Thanks to CDC guidelines, when someone on campus tests positive, the school sends close contacts home to quarantine for 10 days. This automatically triggers a wave of outrage towards the individual who tested positive, which I believe isn’t fair. I know that these types of situations could have been prevented. That’s why I believe that forcing students to quarantine just for being a close-contact to a case should not have been required. 

Many kids have missed out on school-related extracurricular activities and sport seasons due to being quarantined. For seniors in particular, missing out on final moments of high school is indescribably disappointing. Every student looks forward to their last year of high school. So when students are sent home only to miss out on special events and never end up testing positive after all, it feels as if being forced to stay home was a waste entirely.

This made me curious. I decided to do some research to find out what the probability is for a student to test positive after they’ve been deemed a close-contact to a case in a classroom. Surprisingly — or not — no credible agency has published evidence to prove any significant statistic that kids will catch COVID-19 at school. On top of that, the CDC released a report stating that less than 10 percent of COVID-19 cases occur in the age range of 5-17 as of March. 

With more teachers and students starting to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC revealed in February that fully vaccinated individuals will not be quarantined when they come in contact with a positive student. As great as this may seem, this only applies to those individuals who have received both doses and have passed through the 14-day-waiting-period following the second dose. I understand that precautionary measures should be taken, and I understand the necessity of the vaccine option. But by the time this new change started to be enforced, many students and teachers realized they wouldn’t have enough of the school year left to fulfill these requirements anyways. Students can still get quarantined if they’ve already tested positive for COVID-19 and three months passed since their sickness.

I recognize that these steps are part of the efforts made to end the pandemic. But I just don’t think quarantining policies are right. For our school specifically, I’m just not seeing how quarantine has declined the number of COVID-19 cases. I think it seems more likely that most students would have a better possibility of catching the virus in other public places.