Corona Continues

Students return and so do precautions against pandemic

Students+and+staff+this+year+have+the+choice+to+wear+a+mask+or+not.

Cameryn Johnson

Students and staff this year have the choice to wear a mask or not.

Although the infamous coronavirus was introduced to the world over a year ago, schools everywhere are still struggling to put an end to the pandemic and tensions arise as a result of the situation. 

With the beginning of a new school year, the administration has put in place many practices to ensure the safety of returning students.

“Studies and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) say that the coronavirus is spreading through really small microscopic air droplets so we currently have upgraded air filtration systems to catch more of that,” Associate Principal of Administration Jason Anderson said.

Additional protocols such as hand sanitizer stations around campus and the encouragement of good hygiene are also helping keep the school as safe and sanitary as possible.

“Each night the custodial staff are deep cleaning every area of the building. They go in and spray their electrostatic sprayers,” Anderson said.

With Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order of not mandating masks, Oak has followed right along with his authority by making masks optional. 

“I know there has been debate in public opinion outside of Klein ISD and statewide that some like what he put in place and some don’t. I know Harris County has a different opinion than what the governor has but we are following the law that is put in place right now,” Anderson said. “I encourage anybody who wants to wear a mask, please do. It’s not about what is perceived to be right, it’s about what you’re comfortable with.”

Along with Abbott’s decision, the first COVID vaccine by the name Pfizer-BioNTech was approved for the public as of Aug. 23, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“​I think many people avoided getting the vaccine because it had not been approved and people were concerned about how they would be affected and the long-term effects,” Health Science Instructor Jackie Carver said, “With FDA approval and more people continuing to get sick, more people may feel more comfortable in getting the vaccination.”

Some far, as reported by the CDC, there has been a 95% success rate of the vaccine preventing infection. Furthermore, 213 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, according to Statista, in the United States alone

While it is recommended by CDC for individuals 12 and older to receive the vaccine, people with severe or immediate allergic reactions are urged to not get vaccinated.

“I believe that there are exceptions to people receiving the vaccine,” Carver said. “I don’t think pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant women should be forced to get any vaccination they do not feel comfortable receiving.  There are several health conditions that prevent people from getting vaccinations.”

Vital steps in fighting back against COVID have resulted in a safe environment for students and staff..

“Out of all the cases that we have reported we cannot find any that were transmitted on campus or at an athletic event. There are reports of students spreading a case however they attended some outside gathering,” Anderson said.

There has been talk among students about whether the school may get shut down again or not. Anderson shares his personal opinion.

“I see all the statistics that we have with COVID cases and there is always that possibility but I think the overwhelming majority of what sways my opinion is that we haven’t yet,” he said. “At the very beginning of school we were averaging 10 to 15 positive cases a week. Now we’re right around seven and eight cases. Staff cases have dropped as well and even cases that are being reported. So, no I don’t think so. I don’t foresee that at all.”

Moving forward, the administration is determined to continue making the health of students their top priority and thus far all provisions seem to be working.

“Everything that we’re doing, all the precautions that we put in place are working,” Anderson said. “ Is the coronavirus spreading? Yes, just like it is all over the country and the world but at Klein Oak it’s not. We don’t have anything to support that it’s spreading here at school.”