Updated COVID-19 Guidelines in the District

District+Covid+guidelines+are+posted+throughout+the+school.+

Rayne Bromley

District Covid guidelines are posted throughout the school.

On December 31, 2021, Poudre School District–along with at least two other districts in Colorado–updated their COVID- 19 protocols. A few of the new guidelines at Rocky go against the guidelines recently set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

 

Last Friday, students and parents enrolled in Poudre, Thompson, and Estes school districts received an email explaining the details of their updated COVID-19 guidelines. These guidelines outlined that the districts will continue to enforce the use of masks– and encourage KN95 masks specifically, providing two a week to teachers and staff.

 

This week, it was evident that school staff at Rocky are being noticeably more strict with students about wearing masks properly. Even so, many students seem to not care– despite the spread of the reportedly more contagious strain of COVID-19, “Omicron.”

 

Also stated in the email, members of the schools who test positive for COVID are required to isolate themselves from in-person learning for at least 10-days, which differs from the minimal 5-day quarantine suggested by the CDC for businesses. Positive-testing people are asked to stay isolated until the 11th day of the quarantine, and may not return any sooner. 

 

In the case that a student is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID, that student is asked to quarantine for five days, which follows the guidelines suggested by the CDC. The exemptions from this rule include people over 18 who have received the entire series of COVID-19 vaccines plus the booster, and people 5-17 years old who have received both Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

 

Currently, there are 24 students/staff of Rocky Mountain High School who have tested positive for Coronavirus. Other schools in the Fort Collins-Loveland area have much higher rates, an example is Loveland High School where they currently have 103 cases, according to the Larimer County COVID-19 Dashboard.

 

The Highlighter staff interviewed some Rocky students about how they felt in terms of Coronavirus at the school and the new guidelines. They were asked for their estimates on how much longer the pandemic will last if they are anxious about the way the school is handling COVID-19, if they’re comfortable with being in the building, and if they were vaccinated and boosted (an optional question).

 

“I see a lot of people who don’t wear their masks– they could be doing better,” stated Wesley Paschall, a sophomore at Rocky. Paschall added that he felt comfortable being in the school, but believes that the pandemic could last as long as two more years. 

 

Five out of the six people interviewed were double vaccinated. Most of them agreed that they felt pretty comfortable attending in-person classes, and weren’t too concerned with how the school was handling COVID. No students we interviewed had booster shots. 

 

“I think they’re handling it as well as they can,” said Aria Hendrickson, a freshman at the school. 

 

Andrew Young, a senior, believes the school could be mask-free by the end of the next school year. Young stated that he wasn’t worried about the way COVID is being handled at Rocky. 

 

On the contrary, freshman Landon Hulett is a little anxious. “They’re not being very motivating with using masks.” 

 

Hulett believes that it’s “unpredictable” when the pandemic will end right now and that the important thing will be, “whenever boosters and vaccines can be given to more people, and whenever everywhere has mandated masks.” 

 

Sophomore Jeffery Proieti stated that he doesn’t know how long the pandemic will last, but feels comfortable being in the school. Senior Max Hall believes that the pandemic will be “quite a while” before it’s over.

 

Students at Rocky could be doing a lot better with keeping their masks on. A small percentage of students wear KN95 masks, with most students wearing standard disposable masks. While Rocky itself has less than 30 members out with COVID, according to Larimer County COVID-19 Dashboard, the county is still considered to be extremely high-risk for contracting the virus. It is crucial to continue to be cautious and keep everyone safe and schools open for learning.

 

UPDATE:

On January 10, 5:00 pm, PSD sent out a new email informing staff and students about potential changes with in-person learning. Due to the high number of employee absences without substitutes, available schools may need to shift classes, programs, grade levels, or even entire schools to remote learning. Note that this is not a final decision that PSD is and will continue to do everything they can to keep in-person learning present.

 

Quarantine and isolation time has been shortened to five days. PSD asks that staff and students only return to school on day 6 and only if their symptoms have improved. If tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 90 days, you are in a required quarantine and if you have later tested negative you are exempt from quarantine, but only if you have tested negative. See for more details