Carroll and community experiences COVID spread

Anna Winslow, Staff writer

With the onset of cold weather and flu season, COVID-19 cases have continued to mount at Archbishop Carroll and in the surrounding area. Since the Thanksgiving break, 11 Archbishop Carroll students and two Carroll staff members have tested positive for the disease. Delaware County, in which Carroll stands, has counted 4,061 COVID cases since Jan. 4, according to a running online tabulation published by The New York Times.

Mrs. Kaitlin Buchanan, assistant principal for student services, described the daily step-to-step process the school goes through to ensure the student’s and faculty’s safety amid the pandemic. 

“If a student is feeling sick, typically we get a notification from the student or parents stating that they aren’t feeling good, I have these symptoms, or they go home sick from school,” said Mrs. Buchanan. “The process from there is that we ask the student to quarantine, depending on the circumstances of the situation, either 10 or 14 days.” 

If the student was exposed to someone who has COVID-19, the student is required to stay home for 14 days. If the student is just feeling sick, with a cough or an upset stomach, for example, the student must stay home for 10 days. 

The student may choose to take a COVID-19 test to ensure they are negative but if the results come back positive, they are required to stay home until they are completely symptom-free. 

When the school has a positive case, it notifies the school community by sending out an email stating the following information: the grade of the students or student, whether the individual was exposed in the school or not, whether the individual was exposed in the school, what hybrid day (A or B) during which they attend in-person classes, and what the Chester County Health Department recommends.  Because Delaware County does not have a health department, the Chester County Health Department handles Delaware County’s health matters.

“The school is taking it day-by-day, and as of right now, there is no set plan from the state nor county,” said Mrs. Buchanan. “If the school does shut down, I hope it isn’t a hard transition because we have done this before and we have the programs in place to continue to teach as normally as we can.”

One change made by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus was to start the Christmas break early.  On December 18, after the final bell, students and teachers began the Christmas break instead of Dec. 23, which was the original plan.

Another change was to have all students stay home and go to school virtually the week of Jan. 4. 

An email from Mr. William Gennaro, assistant principal for academic affairs, to the Carroll community before the break said: “Additionally, out of an abundance of caution for COVID-19 spread over the holidays, the period of January 4 through January 8 will be fully virtual for all high schools. We intend to return to our Hybrid model on Monday, January 11 (A Day). Should directives from the state or local health departments mandate otherwise, we will communicate with you immediately.”

Students at Carroll expressed their opinions regarding how the school is reassuring the students’ and faculty’s health.

“For the circumstance we are in, we are doing a good job ensuring the health of the students and faculty,” said Kendall Carson, a sophomore.

Anyae Hall, an all-virtual learning junior, said she thought the all-virtual week was a good idea for ensuring the health of all in the community. She also said it had an added bonus, giving “the faculty and students time to get back into the flow of things.”

Mrs. Buchanan said student and faculty were doing their best under the circumstances.

“We are proud of everyone and we understand that everyone is doing their best,” said Mrs. Buchanan. “I’m proud of all the smart decisions being made and hopefully we can keep the school open and have a fun year.”