Westminster Enforces Protocols To Take action Against COVID


Madison Townsend

At Westminster, students have returned back to school but are still aware that COVID is widespread and contagious. Middle School Head Danette Morton explains that the school had to be realistic about its approach. “We always were aware that fully preventing the coronavirus from coming to campus was unrealistic. We also knew we cannot create an NBA bubble, but our whole goal is to prevent the transmission. So our core focus is doing our absolute best at keeping every student healthy while still creating a great learning environment.” 

While the majority of area schools have decided to go online, Westminster worked hard last spring and over the summer to make a plan which would allow students to be at school. “We worked exceptionally hard every day of the summer, and it seemed as if many of us didn’t even have a summer,” explains Vielka Reina, Middle School Dean and Spanish teacher. This hard work shows the dedication and effort the faculty gave so students could attend. 

Before school began this fall, Westminster tested all students and faculty for COVID. The nasal swab tests enabled us to be able to start the school year. Now throughout all grades, another test has been taken, the saliva test. Middle School Nurse Ashley McCauley explains, “Saliva tests are so much more convenient because we are able to use them without the parents having to be present with their kid.” Additionally, these tests come back in forty-eight hours.

The protocols have been enormously helpful and followed very precisely. For example, students’ temperatures are taken each morning, and we wear masks while maintaining a six-foot distance during class and breaks. In addition, everyone applies hand sanitizer/disinfectant spray on themselves or their desks multiple times a day. Because of other protocols, only six students tested positive across all divisions in the last round of testing . 

However, conflict can arise if students don’t follow the requirements. Middle School Dean and visual arts teacher Walter Dupriest recognizes how difficult it is to keep our guard up. “It’s almost as if the new-car smell faded. At the beginning, everyone was aware of protocols, but as we keep going some students forget. So yes we are doing very well; we just have to make sure we all remind ourselves frequently.” For example, the one-way hallways make students aggravated, as they are constantly told to take a longer route to class. Students need to remember these restrictions protect everyone’s safety and health. Eighth-grader Kate Barton shares her experience at school with the protocols: “I think everyone has done a good job following the protocols. It definitely is hard and it is tempting to be closer than six feet, but I have tried very hard because I don’t want there to be a spike in cases at our school. In general, I’m just so ecstatic to finally be in person at school because I waited all summer to be able to see everyone.” 

Everyone hopes for our success to continue safely without any outbreaks.