By Maria Soe
The Covid-19 pandemic has been vexing for students’ education. For the past year and a half, students have been restricted to an online environment, but this has recently changed with this year’s shift to in-person learning.
“As of Sept. 22, 2021, everyone 12 years and older must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, or a negative test result, before going to high-risk indoor businesses such as restaurants, bars, and gyms in Contra Costa County,” says Contra Costa Health Services on their official website. In order to allow in-person classes, Saint Mary’s must follow these regulations, which also includes wearing masks indoors, social distancing, and testing if exposed to COVID-19 or a lack of vaccination. For the most part, Saint Mary’s seems to follow these guidelines closely.
“At SMC, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks while indoors,” Dai To, the Executive Director of Wellness, announces on Saint Mary's website. Alongside this, verification of vaccination was mandatory before the school year started, as well as a COVID-19 test before moving onto campus.
According to a member of the school tennis team, students are required to show their vaccine cards at every game, and teams are kept apart to fulfill the social distance requirement. However, despite following Contra Costa’s regulations, Saint Mary’s management still has students worried and frustrated.
“My roommate had a person in her class that tested positive for COVID and didn’t know what to do,” reports a fellow student. “She called the school’s COVID response groups to ask what she should do and was on the line with one of the head coordinators, but the coordinator quit while she was on the phone because she felt too stressed out to deal with the situation.”
“If someone on the team has been exposed to COVID, they have to test off campus to prevent the school’s COVID cases from rising,” says another student, who is a player on the school’s volleyball team. In addition, Jezebel Garcia ‘23, a member of the school’s crew team, reports, “There are around two or three people that aren’t vaccinated on the team, but they’re still allowed to participate and be around everyone.”
These actions and decisions conducted by the school have gone entirely unnoticed by the student population due to the school’s lack of communication. John Duncan ‘23 expresses his thoughts about the situation, “It’s disappointing that we get more emails about the campus’ telephone services than Coronavirus-related news and cases.” Students have been left completely in the dark about the state of their school and it has caused them to become cynical, exasperated, and untrusting of the system.
Melanie Moyer '22,