Even though the Commons is blocked off and the hallways are labeled as one way students begin to gather in the hall before the morning bell. As one student pulls his mask down below the nose, Assistant Principal Janell Tanner yells out, “Pull up your mask and keep on moving!”
“I’m blessed to serve (the school) in a unique and odd way this year,” she said. “Encouraging students to social distance is the hardest new mandate.”
Her goal has been to decrease the amount of cases on campus.
“The purpose for the regulations is to prevent the spread of COVID,” Tanner said. “When our school community wears their mask, social distances and limits large gatherings, we are more successful at preventing the spread.”
With desks spread apart, students have remained distant from each other in most classes.
“I think if we are still getting quarantined then it’s not really working,” senior Kyran Douglas said. “If everyone had stayed in-person at school, we’d likely still have the ratio of students quarantined. The desks don’t even seem different to me.”
She said the entire campus was working together to slow the spread.
“I’m appreciative to all the students who continue to wear their masks correctly without being told,” Tanner said. “As well as the teachers who continue to spread students out, keep their seating charts updated and help students continue to stay connected via Teams.”
Ten students have to be quarantined per positive case, according to school statistics.
“Once I identify the students who were in close contact with a positive case, that information is given to the nurse and from there she contacts the parents, then students are sent home to quarantine,” she said.
To be precise, Tanner carries around a tape measure.
“Exposed students need to quarantine 14 days and monitor their symptoms,” Tanner said. “The tape measure has reduced the number of mistakes that could occur when determining which students should be quarantined.”
Teachers are also subject to quarantine.
“When teachers are quarantined it makes it insanely hard to learn and pay attention,” Douglas said. “Being left with a sub is pretty fun because we just seem to do busy work but I’m not learning as much with a sub.”
Tanner is in charge of deciding which students to quarantine.
“I really don’t consider the information I deliver as bad news because as disappointing as the news is, I would rather know than not know and be given the opportunity to be prepared for the battle,” she said. “Every day the news reports how COVID-19 has taken so many lives and if you are aware that you have been in close contact, you could prevent the death of a loved one with underlying health issues.”
Even though contact tracing is a job on top of her other duties, she doesn’t mind.
“What I love about being an assistant principal is not having control of planning my day and working with a team,” Tanner said. “Contact tracing is like a surprise mission every day. This mission is certainly not a one-person job though. It is the effort of several players; the nurse, the nurse’s aid, attendance clerks, the secretarie, custodians and other administrators. It’s a real team effort.”
Douglas said he appreciates efforts to keep students on campus.
“We have to keep doing school,” he said. “We have to finish our education. We can’t delay it any longer.”