Administration’s quarter three COVID-19 response


Karlene Deng

Currently, juniors and senior soccer players are residing on campus.

Hayden Anderson, Staff Writer

As they have started their new classes, many MSMS students will be coming on campus to a situation that is largely familiar.  From sanitizing stations to virtual on-campus classes, MSMS’s Administration is trying to limit the spread of COVID-19. In an email, Executive Director Dr. Germain McConnell listed what students are expected to do before coming to campus.

“Limit time in public settings, wear a mask when having to be in public, avoid social gatherings outside the immediate family, avoid mass gatherings of any type,” McConnell wrote in the email.

However, even though the precautions to get to campus have not changed, testing may look a little different than it did before. Dr. McConnell said that most students will have to get their tests locally.

“Due to no one being available to provide testing on Sunday, juniors are asked to undergo COVID testing in their local areas before arriving on Sunday,” McConnell wrote in the email. “Testing should be completed on or after Thursday, Jan. 7, and negative results must be presented upon arrival.”

While many of the students that are moving on campus are juniors, administration has also allowed many senior soccer players to come to campus prior to their move-in date of Jan. 8 in lieu of the January soccer games.

“We have been able to accommodate all soccer players desiring to reside on campus,” Dr. McConnell wrote in the email. “This will allow them to practice as a team and participate in matches. We will not bring in additional seniors before February 8.”

As the administration has been working on making these precautions, many students like Vidhi Patel and Raeed Kabir feel as if these precautions are the best way to keep students safe from the COVID-19 virus.

“They’re for our safety and something we all should follow,” Patel said. “My mom feels comfortable sending me onto campus because of the regulations.”

“I think they are smart,” Kabir said. “and people who are in charge are deliberate with the regulations.”

While many think that the precautions are what we need for our safety, others like junior Zeke Pullido are not too happy about the scheduling that they have put in place.

“I think they [the precautions] are completely fine,” Pullido said. “They got to do what they got to do but kind of disappointed in the schedules for lunch because I may not be able to eat with some of my friends”

However, others see different concerns that did not just happen this quarter. Many, like junior Dalton Rainer, feel as if the stress on campus is not being caused by COVID-19, but by the new block schedule MSMS has put in place.

“I feel largely the same as I did previously that some regulations are understandable,” Rainer said. “But there is a strange rigidness imposed by the block schedule that ultimately doesn’t allow for students or teachers to relax and creates an overall more stressful academic environment.”

However, as many are nervous about the virus and its effect on the school, administration has made many efforts to stop COVID-19 from making its way on campus by making students wear masks and social distance, as they would in a normal public space.

“As indicated on page 6 of the COVID Operating Plan (COP) and communicated from the beginning, all students and employees are expected to wear masks while around other people,” Dr. McConnell wrote in the email. “In addition, six feet of separation should be practiced when possible, even inside the residence halls (COP, p. 7).  This is the best way to limit the spread of the virus if someone is infected.”

Administration is also making all students stay on campus without being able to drive off. However, as many live near the school, visitors such as close family members can bring resources needed at any time. 

“Students will not be allowed to leave campus,” McConnell wrote in the email. “Families are allowed to bring items to campus for their children, but if families choose to take students off campus, the students will be required to complete the remainder of the term at home.  Certain exceptions will be made such as doctor’s visits, but we ask that those be scheduled at other times if possible.”

While in the midst of a pandemic and all the precautions being taken, Director of Academic Affairs Kelly Brown, reminded everyone that staying together as a family is one of the most important things that we can do.

“The school year 2020-2021 has not happened as we would have wished or could have predicted,” Brown said. “While we knew the global pandemic would affect how we handled academics at MSMS we could not predict the emotional and mental toil the ongoing stress has caused us.  Remember that MSMS is a close community that has many academic and mental health resources available to give help when needed.  We can rely on each other to stay strong.”