Two weeks in
Two weeks of the 2020-2021 school year are in the books and our school’s Covid response is constantly changing and evolving. We started the school year with masks required in common spaces, but once students (or teachers) were in a room and settled at their desks, it was ok to remove the masks. If a teacher required a mask in their classroom (for any reason) that was ok too. I personally opted for masks on in the classroom because I have a really small room and wasn’t able to space out my desks to a comfortable distance.
By the end of the first week, cases in Hungary were on the rise. We went from new daily cases in the single digits or teens over the summer to cases in the hundreds by the end of the first week of school. “Out of an abundance of caution,” it was decided that we would all wear masks all of the time at school when indoors. When possible, some teachers would take their classes outside for a mask break or to teach a lesson outdoors (the weather has been lovely lately!). We also heard from the government that all schools would not be shutting down like they did in spring but may on a school-by-school basis if necessary. At an all-school meeting, we got some clarity about this idea that we will be living with this for a while, so the goal is really to do whatever possible to safely keep school open as long and as much as possible. This gave me a new way of thinking about seeing the daily case numbers. As the new daily cases in Hungary continued to rise well about our peak in April (210) to the 200’s, 300’s, and 400’s of new cases per day, the question isn’t how high do the numbers have to get before we close campus again, but what can we do to say open, and when does our school specifically need to close.
At the end of the day Friday (at the end of our second week of school), we got our first known case of Covid in our immediate school community, a ninth grader. We were immediately informed that grade nine students would be learning from home next week (as a precaution) and that grade nine teachers would get a Covid test over the weekend.
So far it feels like we are doing everything right to keep our students and teachers safe. We’ll start week three on Monday with masks on, no ninth grade teachers or students in the building, and the question in the back of our heads of whether our grade level might be next.