DGS students and staff handle quarantine

Sally Lichner

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Sally Lichner

The new mandate requires students and staff to quarantine for at least five days.

On Dec. 1, 2021, the new COVID-19 variant was identified in the United States: Omicron. According to Southwestern Vermont Health Care, Omicron is 2-3 times more easily transmitted between individuals than the Delta variant. For the time being, Downers Grove South is currently staying in person, continuing with the regular school schedule and activities.

The new protocol mandated for students and staff who contract or come in close contact with the COVID-19 virus requires them to stay home and quarantine for a minimum of five days, or produce a negative COVID test. With increasing numbers of students absent due to COVID-19 contact or contraction, teachers must accommodate their lessons to those who are stuck in quarantine and separated from the classroom.

However, some students feel that they weren’t completely accommodated for certain classwork. Junior Bradley Padavic quarantined the first week of the second semester and feels that the in-class activities prevented him from completing all of his work.

“A lot of the work I had to do in my classes involved in-class activities, so oftentimes I couldn’t get work done at all,” Padavic said.

Senior Liana O’Rourke was quarantined back in November, before the Omicron outbreak in the United States. O’Rourke admitted that it would be nice to have more leeway in terms of tests and assignments while quarantined at home.

“I felt mostly supported [by teachers]. I think they could’ve given a few more days to make up the work that I missed because when you have to make up a test you’re also missing the lesson that’s being taught that day,” O’Rourke said.

Padavic mentioned how although he didn’t expect much, teachers still could have offered him more support while he was quarantined.

“I didn’t expect much from my teachers, but I feel like they could’ve offered me a little more resources especially with in-class activities in order to get work done at home,” Padavic said.

O’Rourke explained that missing school while quarantining was challenging for her learning experience.

“The hardest part about being quarantined was having to miss school. Within that time I missed math lessons, and it was really hard as a visual learner to have no online option,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke shared insight into her difficulties with having to complete schoolwork without the classroom environment.

“The motivation is definitely not the same when you’re alone in your room by yourself. You also don’t have the support from your peers,” O’Rourke said.

Not only do students have to face missing out on school due to quarantine, but teachers as well. DGS art teacher Katherine O’Truk was quarantined for the first week of the second semester, which brought along its own set of challenges.

“Since I was gone the first week of the second semester, I had a lot of new students in new classes, so I had to come up with things for them to do. Even though I wasn’t there, and they didn’t have their materials. I had to come up with a lot of new stuff with not very much time,” O’Truk said.

O’Truk described that although COVID symptoms weren’t severe, it was still irritating having to work while experiencing fatigue.

“I didn’t feel too bad, I felt like I had a cold. I was definitely more tired than I normally am, so it was kind of challenging. It was more annoying that I had to take a sick day but still had to do five hours of work every day to get stuff ready,” O’Truk said.

Currently, DGS has no plans to go back to online learning and will continue to maintain in-person learning and activities.