Passive or Prompt? PDS’s Handling of the Pandemic

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(Artwork/Zoe Latanision’23)

Milind Singh, Online Staff Writer

As we enter the second full semester of PDS’s revised learning plan, many students have now gotten a taste of what online learning is really like. After five months, we have accepted DTENs, breakout rooms, and muted mics as our daily reality. PDS’s novel hybrid learning plan, however, has enabled many of us to attend school in person, allowing us to escape from behind the screen. 

The hybrid learning plan has run, almost continuously, since the second week of September. Since then, all students wishing to attend have had to fill out a daily form confirming their temperature and self-isolation at home. Earlier in the school year, students would be seen using one of the many hand sanitizer dispensers placed around the school, but not so much anymore. There have been a few scares in which the school has closed due to a sharp increase in cases, but these instances are few and far between. Overall, the administration has done a good job implementing health procedures, while facing backlash for the occasional case. This is a point which junior Joe Lippman agreed with: “I think people like to complain about the pandemic safety rules, and they often blame it on the school. The reality is that they’ve done a lot for us, which is why we’ve been able to stay in person. I think that the PDS administration has done really well so far, and I’m optimistic.” Joe’s positive sentiments are made clearer when considering nearby schools. The Hun School of Princeton closed again recently as a result of an increasing number of cases whereas PDS hasn’t faced such issues since November. The well-timed and measured reactions by the administration have allowed the entire school to remain open for in-person learning for the majority of this school year. 

However, some issues arose within the student body with regard to handling COVID-19 cases, as they inevitably happen. Those in charge of health and safety at PDS obviously don’t have control over what students do outside of school, and they can only recommend staying at home and keeping socialization to a minimum. Sadly, some students have taken it upon themselves to flout these recommendations, placing the entire PDS population at risk. There have been statements put out by the school discouraging this, along with conducting contact tracing to stop the viral spread in its tracks. Lippman once again shared his thoughts on this: “[The administration] could definitely come down harder on the people who are still going to parties or non-socially distanced events. I would definitely like to see more accountability. There are some students who I honestly believe shouldn’t be allowed to be in person due to their past actions.” The school seems to be a little lax in holding such students, some of whom are repeat offenders, responsible as it allows them to continue coming into school, with no clear consequences set for them. 

Such actions don’t inspire confidence in others who wish to continue coming into school, but overall, PDS has maintained a safe enough environment in which no mass infection has taken place. As vaccine distribution efforts begin though, it is important to still maintain all these safety protocols for the sake of security and comfort for the entire PDS community. 

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