BY TEAGAN MERRIMAN – With the imminent return of students to IUP and IHS comes the imminent rise of COVID cases. In the two week period between October 7-20, the county has seen 169 new cases, 33 of which have come from students at IUP. There have been multiple confirmed cases within the school district along with multiple presumably positive cases.
Students at IHS have understandably expressed concern about the number of cases in the county and how it could affect our school. “The return of IUP students to the campus has had a huge negative effect on our COVID numbers. Because the college students roam Indiana, we see them in public, and that one second of walking by one another can spread the virus if we are not careful. They are not only socializing with us and the rest of the students, but they are also not always safe and wearing masks. They don’t care if they spread the virus, they just want to have fun. This has made our community and school virus numbers increase because of their carelessness and want to have fun,” noted sophomore Audrey Josephson.
The school district recognizes that the IUP and IHS communities are unavoidably intertwined, as many students at the high school participate in dual enrollment or have family members that work at or attend IUP. Many measures have been taken to protect students and their families, and many students feel that these measures are appropriate.
Senior Allie Rutledge stated, “I do feel safe coming to school for the most part. I believe that the school is doing everything they can for the students at IHS. While it is not the most ideal way, it is the safest way. The school should do more mental health checks, give more grace to students who submit late work, ensure that sports teams are taking responsible measures, and do what they can for seniors to make their last year here special.”
With school safety at the forefront, the school must be diligent and prepared to make adjustments as circumstances continuously change. “We should not be letting students walk around with neck gaiters on, masks below their noses, or masks completely off. The only time I feel unsafe at school is when I see a student not wearing a mask properly,” continued Rutledge.
Rightfully so, many students are showing some level of concern over the rising cases within our school alone. Senior Chloe Kockinski mentioned, “The rising cases at the high school are somewhat concerning to me. It worries me that we will go back to entirely online school and we will miss more of our senior year and the activities that come along with it. We all just want to have a fun year and I would hate for anyone to miss out.”
Students are urged to continue to follow health and safety guidelines put forth by the school in the hopes that things may be back to normal before the end of the year.
[Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health]
Photo Caption: Graphs showing a spike in Coronavirus cases throughout the past months.
Teagan is a senior and first-year reporter for the High Arrow. She enjoys playing volleyball at IHS and is also a member of the diving and lacrosse teams. She is excited to be writing for the High Arrow this year.