Courtesy of MSMS
Just as MSMS students were preparing for a return to campus, the MSMS administration notified students and parents that the return was canceled due to a recent rise of COVID-19 cases and lack of testing resources. Students will now complete the remainder of the quarter virtually.
In an email update from Executive Director Dr. Germain McConnell on Wednesday, Dec. 2, McConnell gave his reasoning for canceling the return set for the upcoming Sunday, Dec. 6, specifically noting uneasiness about not being able to test students planning to return.
“We will not be able to provide testing for all students upon their return,” McConnell said. “If students are not tested, we do not feel comfortable bringing students back to campus this Sunday.”
This decision came in response to record-high infection numbers after the Thanksgiving break. McConnell also cited these numbers in his reasoning.
“Currently, the infection rates are as high as they were in August [when students initially went virtual], and yesterday the number of infections set a record at 2,457,” McConnell said. “We cannot ignore the record-breaking number of COVID infections. It is just too risky to bring students back to campus for the remaining two weeks.”
McConnell also expressed his feelings on the decision and clarified the situation of students already on campus due to connectivity issues.
“This has been a very difficult decision,” McConnell said. “Considering the risks, we have decided not to bring students back to campus this Sunday. Students who are already on campus because of issues at home will be allowed to remain on campus.”
Many students, like junior Raeed Kabir and senior Aabha Mantri, shared their feelings about the decision.
“Based on the numbers, I think it would make more sense now than ever before to close down the school,” Kabir said. “People I know have COVID left and right, and I think it’s imperative that we keep to ourselves. The decision did not shock me.”
“I agree with the decision,” Mantri said. “Do I wish it were like this? No, but I also wish that we weren’t in a full-fledged pandemic.”
Senior Skylar Nguyen and Mantri also elaborated on how this decision impacts their senior experience.
“My senior experience compared to my junior experience is disappointing,” Nguyen said. “I know that the school is doing their best with trying to deal with the COVID situation, but it just seems so sad that we only got two years together and it feels like our time is getting cut shorter and shorter.”
“I wish that my classmates and I could have a normal senior year experience,” Mantri said. “I miss spending time with my friends, seeing my classmates in the cafeteria or in Hooper, and the teachers as well. We also haven’t really gotten the chance to get to know our juniors. It’s sad how as a class, we have only spent maybe three quarters of a school year together in person.”
Juniors, like Kabir, also mentioned the lack of connection between juniors and seniors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I feel like I’m not growing accustomed to the MSMS experience in the way that I should,” Kabir said. “Hanging out with the seniors felt like a distant dream, but I’m confident we will get that opportunity soon and have a taste of normalcy.”
To regain that sense of normalcy, Mantri stressed a message to MSMS students.
“Wear your masks, practice social distancing and try to do your part so that we can try and have a fair shot of having a normal rest of the school year,” Mantri said.