WILL SCHOOL REALLY RETURN DECEMBER 7TH?
FEATURE: reporter Grace Anderson investigates whether or not Lincoln Park will actually return on the date the school provided through a robocall
November 24, 2020
As many students have already been made aware, Lincoln Park has chosen to go virtual until Dec. 7, however, depending on the current situation and the outlook of Dr. Rodgers herself, things may change.
“What ended up happening,” said Dr. Rodgers, “is we escalated to five cases within the past 14 days.”
Though she specified the cases were technically isolated from each other, the rule still stands that a school is to go virtual if five or more cases turn up in the same 14 days.
Not only did the Department of Education have a hand in this, but so did the COVID-19 status of Beaver County (as well as other surrounding counties).
If Beaver County stays in the substantial range of COVID-19 cases for two consecutive weeks, school will have to be virtual until the county remains moderate or low for another two consecutive weeks.
Rodgers expresses she does not believe the county will drop back to moderate in the near future.
Many schools made the argument they shouldn’t have to shut down considering a good majority of their cases were not related to each other.
Others may argue the underlying cause of these cases come from events outside of school, citing the spike in cases from Halloween gatherings.
However, while Rodgers said she can see the logical side to the argument, she also said, “When push comes to shove, these experts were hired into these positions for a reason, so we have to trust their judgement on this.”
If school does end up going back to hybrid, more guidelines will be enforced, such as quarantining those who traveled out of state.
“You could be subject to disciplinary measures, for example, if you aren’t [quarantining] because it is now required by the state,” said Rodgers.
Another concern that has been spoken about is winter sports: what will happen to them?
“To be honest, I anticipated that we would’ve heard that by now, so it kind of surprised me that [PIAA] did not [issue anything yet],” she admitted.
Considering there are some fall sports still going on, such as football, Rodgers suggests that PIAA could be waiting for them to end before issuing anything regarding winter sports, though that is merely a guess.
As of right now, many things are uncertain, and the administration knows that.
However, Rodgers does offer her predictions as someone who has been dealing with the COVID-19 situation for the past months.
“I mean, this school year do I anticipate anything changing?” she poised. “No, I cannot see a situation in which we would be able to go back to school [regularly], unless I am very very wrong.
“It’s really going to have to be contingent on the vaccine because I don’t think the guidance from the state is going to get to a point where it’s going to loosen unless one of two things happens.”
What are those two things, you may ask? Either herd immunity, something Rodgers points out as dangerous to pursue, or a vaccination.
“If this takes a long time, there’s a good chance that it could spread into next year,” she said. “Though, personally, I’m trying not to think about that right now because it makes my stomach turn.
“The reality is we might not be starting next school year in the normal model we so much want to go back to,” said Rodgers. “We’re just kind of waiting, and we’ll do what we need until something happens.”