COVID safety precautions revisited

McNicholas High School has done a relatively great job dealing with the coronavirus thus far. Only twenty members of the McNick community have tested positive with the knowledge that all of these cases have arisen from off campus transmission. There has been zero transmission on campus due to McNick’s extensive efforts at keeping the faculty and students safe during the school day. However, with it being in the middle of November, some may have gotten comfortable and more lenient with the safety precautions.

Architecture and Ceramics teacher Mel Gaskins said, “At the start of school, we were diligent and vigilant about keeping the McNick community healthy. We did a great job. Now, I notice we are comfortable and see less distancing and more masks down or off especially after school as students walk to the parking lots, walking with no distance, no mask while hanging out around their cars with their friends. Covid doesn’t stop when you walk out the McNick doors.”

Covid safety precautions are crucial in all schools around the world. Students and faculty are faced with seeing large numbers of people every day, students have to continuously switch rooms to attend different classes, and teachers are exposed to different students coming in and out of their classrooms. With that, it is important to understand the importance of safety precautions in order to keep the entire community safe. If the protocols are not followed, the lives of McNick could be put in danger.

These guidelines from an email sent to students at the beginning of the year as well as from the weekly McNicholas newsletter include the following:

  • Each student is responsible for cleaning their desk/table area as well as helping your teachers when needed with cleaning up. 
  • Do self-checks even if you feel fine! Asymptomatic people can be super-spreaders if they are not following the protocols. 
  • Do the distance- 6ft apart inside and outside of the building. 
  • Go with the flow- walk the newly marked one-way hallways correctly and give yourself time for the new routes. 
  • Sneeze properly into your elbow and pitch used tissues immediately into the trash. 
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer -20 seconds at a minimum. 
  • As of Monday, November 16, gaiters are no longer permitted as face coverings and must be replaced by well-fitting face masks fully covering the mouth and nose.  

Social Studies teacher Todd Naumann said, “It starts with basic rules of washing your hands regularly, keeping a safe distance, and wearing a mask.  I am also keeping my room clean as well as working with my students to ensure they are following the protocols.”

Both the students and faculty are to be held responsible for following these guidelines. They are an important component to the rest of the school year. If these rules are not followed closely, it could make the difference between online and in-person learning. The McNick community wants to stay in-person so in doing so students and faculty must abide by these rules. With there being a higher number of Covid cases since the beginning of the school year, it is important to be reminded of the little things the McNick community can do in order to stay safe.

“I would like to remind the students of McNick [that] we are a community and we do spend lots of time together. We need everyone respecting the precautions. No one has all the answers. Following the precautions helps us take care of our family, friends, teachers, staff, and administration; our McNick community,” Gaskins said.

The Illinois Department of Health made this poster to help remind people to stay safe during this time of uncertainty. It contains many ways the McNick community can stay safe at school.

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